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Daubenspeck, Perkiomen Valley keep state playoff hopes alive

WEST CHESTER >> Andrew Daubenspeck couldn’t believe the number of saves for which he was credited Wednesday.

“Seventeen?” Perkiomen Valley’s senior goalkeeper said following his team’s District 1-4A playoff game with West Chester Henderson. “I’ll take 17 saves, but I don’t think it was that many.”

That total was what the PV scorebook listed for Daubenspeck. And there was no downplaying the significance of every stop he made toward the Vikes securing a 2-1 victory over the Warriors at Henderson’s J. Oscar Dicks Stadium.

Goals by Mike Weir and Brian Love fueled the offense for PV, which extended its postseason run in its fifth-place playback game. The ninth-seeded Vikings (18-7-2) will host 11th-seeded Wissahickon — a 2-0 winner over Lower Merion in the bracket’s other playback — Saturday to determine which team gets the district’s final slot for the PIAA playoffs.

“He kept us in the game,” Weir said of his classmate. “We wouldn’t be here without him.”

Weir’s contributions to the win weren’t overlooked, either. He scored off a direct kick with 23:36 left in the first half, for a lead that held up until fifth-seeded Henderson (14-5-2) scored with 17:40 left in the second. About nine minutes later, he set the stage for Love’s ultimate game-winner with a shot the junior midfielder rebounded and sent home from the front of the Warrior cage.

“He (Weir) always hits decent shots,” Love recalled. “When the ball hit off a player’s foot, I did what I had to do.”

While PV rides the euphoria of the do-or-die win one step closer to states, Henderson faces a considerably earlier end to its campaign than they had in 2016. The Warriors fell one game short of qualifying for the state-title game, with a veteran lineup.

“It was a very positive year,” head coach Sean Ryan said in wrap-up. “Winning the Ches-Mont championship after losing eight kids … this is a good group we have pushing on.”

For PV, the challenge now is to go as far as possible in its return to the district arena.

“Mike’s freshman year, he was varsity,” Daubenspeck said. “They made it to districts, but lost in overtime. It’s been a process getting back.”

The Vikes’ rebound from a 2-1 quarterfinal-round loss to Conestoga started with Weir giving his team a one-goal lead 16 minutes in. It was completed with Love’s tally at the 8:22 mark through a crowd in front of the Henderson goal.

“We’re pumped up,” Love said. “After the Conestoga loss, we knew we had to pull it off. Now we have Wisasahickon at home, and we’re hoping to juice ourselves back up.”

The Warriors’ equalizer was scored by Chris Roberts, who headed the ball home through a crowd to the front of the PV goal. That would be the highlight for the home team, which saw a number of its 13 shots go through the goalposts or to the side of the cage

“With PV, if you make mistakes, they punish you for it,” Ryan said. “They didn’t have a lot of chances, but they made them count.”

The Vikings’ defense in front of Daubenspeck — Jake Rogers, Andrew Zielke and Brian Holmes at the backs, among others — complemented the keeper’s stout play. Midfielders like Weir, Love and Matt McCabe were also big in disrupting Henderson’s drives to PV’s end of the field.

“The team’s being resilient,” Weir said. “We’ve had tough losses and deflating goals.”

Now, it has a chance to reach the state show. The Warriors, in the meantime, can only look back at a season ended sooner than they hoped.

“We did what we’re capable of doing,” Ryan said. “It’s a tough way to end the year, but we can come out of it holding our heads high. We went 14-5-2 with a lot of fresh faces … that’s something we can take away.”

NOTES >> PV had just six shots on goal, less than half Henderson’s total. … The Warriors’ keeper, Nick Daniel, was listed with two saves.

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