FRANCONIA >> After losing in the first round of the District 1 playoffs the past two seasons, Souderton girls soccer coach Chris Felber figured it was time to just bypass it altogether.
“That’s why we aimed for top eight — we’re like screw it, we’ll just miss the first round and go to the second round,” said Felber with a laugh.
Fourteen victories earned the Indians the seventh seed in the Class 4A tournament, a starting spot in Round No. 2 and with it a different result from past years.
Allie Trick ended Souderton’s scoreless tie with No. 10 Upper Dublin in the 62nd minute and that was all Big Red needed to advance to the quarterfinals, topping the visiting Cardinals 1-0 Thursday night.
“We just wanted to come out hard. It was our first home game in the second round and we had a lot of adrenaline,” Trick said. “I think that’s what put us over the edge. It was a home game, we had the whole crowd here, we had the support behind us. So it was two great teams but I think we had the support.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) October 27, 2017
The postseason victory was the first for Souderton (15-4-0) since 2009 when the Indians defeated Wissahickon in the district spring Class 3A quarterfinals. Big Red had lost six straight playoff contests — the last two during the fall — before Trick’s strike ended that streak.
“It’s the first playoff win for us, so we’re delighted for that. But really the goal is when you get to states,” Felber said. “We want to make that top eight, that was a big goal, now it’s make states, that’s what we want to do. And we’re not here just to compete, we’re here to win and we want to makes states, that’s the big goal now. And if we win Saturday, we’ll achieve that.”
The Indians, who have won six in a row — and 13 of 15 since a 2-2 start — can clinch their first PIAA berth since that 2009 season when they visit second-seeded Owen J. Roberts Saturday. Winner heads to the semifinals while the losing side heads to playbacks for District 1’s fifth and final state bid.
Owen J. Roberts reached the quarters with a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Haverford.
“We played them during preseason and we beat them in preseason, so that means nothing to us now. It’s preseason,” Trick said. “They worked hard as a team, so we’re just going to come out and show them what we got.”
Upper Dublin (16-2-2), the Suburban One League American Conference champ, ends its season at 16-2-2, but did put an ended to its own postseason drought Tuesday. The Cardinals’ 2-1 overtime win over conference rival Plymouth Whitemarsh was their first district victory since they edged Downingtown East on penalty kicks in the 2010 3A first round.
“It was a goal of ours to take that next step,” Upper Dublin coach John Topper said. “I think it was due in a large part to our senior leadership, they’ve been great. And they’ve had some frustration in the playoffs, so it was nice to take that. We’re going to look to build on that going forward.
The Cardinals could not create many scoring opportunities Thursday, a task made tougher after losing junior Aiden Hopkins and Kaitlyn Brown with injuries during the contest. UD was shutout for the first time since playing Conestoga to a 0-0 draw in the season opener.
“It was a pretty evenly played match. And quite honestly we played two days against and we had two big pieces (Hopkins and Brown) went down for the night with no chance of coming back,” Topper said. “I think, credit to Souderton, they scored a good goal, we did not but I’m very proud of the way our girls played on every part of the field tonight. And we know playoff games are always tight and went their way tonight. But I think our girls did a wonderful job.”
Trick made it 1-0 Big Red with 18:49 in regulation off a Sarah Readinger assist. Trick beat one UD defender for the ball and before another could close her down in the 18-yard box, knocked a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Devon Jones and into the opposite right corner of the net.
“I ran on it, got that touch, and then just tapped it in,” Trick said.
Upper Dublin’s best chance was the first for either side. Christina Haig volleyed a Hopkins cross on goal, but the effort went right into the grasp of Indians keeper Lindsay Pazdziorko.
Trick came close to scoring in the first half and she got behind the UD backline, but her was directed at Jones and denied.
The Indians just missed taking the lead in the 34th minute. Cara McCausland got on the end of a Campbell Power corner and sent the ball across the front of goal to Kailee Harwick only for Harwick’s touch to hit the crossbar and go over it.
Early in the second half, Trick found Tori Dowd, who drove into the box and slid a pass between two defenders to an open McCausland, but McCausland’s one-timer went straight to Jones.
“I think it was heading towards us. I think the first half was really even, the second half I thought was pretty much all us,” Felber said. “We were finding space, we finding momentum, we were moving the ball. We were being more creative in the second half. We were struggling to be creative, our touches were in a little poor in the first half, but as the game went on I felt like it was coming.”
“But you know those games you don’t get it, you’re going to get punished. So finally we got the goal. And once we got it I knew we would seal it out.”
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