FRANCONIA >> It was tied 2-2 midway through the second quarter, and then North Penn persistence surfaced in a big way.
“Souderton’s always a tough game to come out and play. They’re always tough,” said the Knights’ outstanding hole set, Maeve Wydan. “We started working very cohesively. We all got on the same page.
“We definitely got into it as the game went on,” Wydan said. “We had a little bit of a slow start but Souderton’s a good team to come out and play against.”
In front of a packed house at the Souderton Natatorium, the Knights pulled away to a 6-2 lead by halftime and hammered down a 12-4 victory over Big Red. The North Penn boys also held off an inspired Souderton squad, allowing only one second-half goal in a 13-5 win over the Indians.
“Their hole set just did a terrific job and I thought their goalie was terrific too,” Big Red coach Joe Hay said of Wydan and keeper Rosalinda Rivera, who provided a few thunderous blocks and 16 saves in all. “A lot of shots that usually go in for us, she got ‘em.”
After Souderton tied things up 2-2 early in the second quarter, Rivera blanked Big Red the rest of the half and North Penn’s attack started connecting.
Wydan had four goals in the contest, Maddy Koerper three, and five others contributed a goal apiece in an overwhelming effort.
“Our girls are solid,” Knights coach Jason Grubb said. “Souderton’s got a good team and they can keep with us for a while, and our girls were persistent. When you have a team that is as deep as ours, persistence can wear some people down.”
Souderton saw some promise in a hustling Hailey Freed. The sophomore had a breakaway goal to go with four steals, as Big Red found its task even tougher when star Clara Burrell fouled out in the third quarter. K.K. Hershey had a nice game with a goal and a team-high five steals.
In a match-up of what could be the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference, the Knights pulled away in decisive fashion.
The North Penn and Souderton Area boys are also headed towards the playoffs, and the Knights held off Big Red with four goals each from A.J. Patterson and Derek Friday. Friday added five steals to help the Knights turn an 8-4 halftime lead into the 13-5 victory.
“They started to calm down a little bit,” Grubb said of his squad. “Early on they were a little too quick just to be quick.”
Rory Sinkinson’s hat trick led Souderton, which got to within 7-4 late in the second quarter.
“My guys always get up for this. This is our big rivalry. We’ve had a rough year but you can see some signs of life,” Hay said. “Signs of improving and figuring out how to play this game a little better.
“North Penn’s a great team. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they won states this year.”