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Phoenixville holds on, downs Radnor in district opening round

PHOENIXVILLE >> Phoenixville seniors Jesi Rossman and Kelli Olsson knew it was going to be the final girls soccer game they would play at Washington Field Tuesday night.

And the two Phantoms made the most of that opportunity in the first round of the District 1-AAA playoffs against Radnor.

Rossman scored a pair of goals, one on a header off a long assist off a free kick from Olsson, to put Phoenixville on the scoreboard. Then, with a lot of help from their teammates, the eighth-seeded Phantoms held off a late charge by the ninth-seeded Raiders for a 4-3 victory to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal round at top-seeded Villa Joseph Marie.

Phoenixville (11-8) took a 3-0 halftime lead and stretched it to 4-0 on Gabrielle Perrotto’s penalty kick at the 59-minute mark before the Raiders (7-10-2) staged their strong comeback bid that fell one-goal short.

Leeza Galli scored the other goal for the Phantoms and was also taken down after a hard rush down the left side that led to Perrotto’s penalty kick. Freshman Savanna Seldes assisted on Galli’s goal.

“That was the best first half of soccer we had all season,” said Phoenixville coach Tim Raub, whose team made its seventh straight district playoff appearance. “We came out with vengeance. Credit our fans. They were the 12th man tonight. We haven’t had many night games. Tonight we had the bright lights and got the momentum. We played even harder.”

Hannah Sands (two saves) played a strong game in goal for the Phantoms, particularly in the first half, and Anna Gurian (four saves) did likewise for the Raiders.

Sophomores Lu MacKenzie and Sophia Muetterties scored goals for Radnor while senior Carolyn Ecktein had one on a penalty kick at the 70-minute mark.

“We made it interesting,” said Radnor coach Jake Solderitsch. “We have a young team. We only had four seniors on the roster. We were learning as we went along throughout the season. But we finished strong. We dug ourselves a hole, but we came back. I am very proud of our second half and our season. That was important in the second half being down 4-0 and we almost got the fourth goal.”

Raub termed it a great team effort and applauded the work of his two young outside midfielders, Seldes and sophomore Mary Michaud, for stepping up in a big game.

“We got stressed out at the end, but we played well,” said Rossman.

“We fought from the start,” said Olsson, a cornerstone on defense. “We played really well. I think at the end we got caught up in it. We have a young team, but I think were played very well. As seniors, we did not want to lose our last game at home.”

“We made the recovery and got adrenaline from the crowd,” said Galli. “This was definitely our best game of the season. We got confidence from all of us working together as a team. That is how we play.”

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