GRATERFORD >> For the first time in school history, the Perkiomen Valley High School boys soccer team has qualified for the PIAA state tournament.
The ninth-seeded Vikings achieved that feat with a 1-0 victory over 11th-seeded Wissahickon Saturday night at PV’s Thomas J. Keenan Stadium in the District 1-4A fifth place, state-qualifying game.
Junior midfielder Brian Love’s goal in the 71st minute, and senior goalkeeper Andrew Daubenspeck’s blank sheet, with the aid of his strong defense against the Trojans’ abundant pressure, highlighted the Vikings’ effort.
Love was assisted by junior defender Brian Holmes on a kick from 30 yards out as he then found the net from the left side. The score came after a pair of Perkiomen Valley corner kick opportunities with junior forward Max Chamorro putting the ball into play from the home side of the field.
Perkiomen Valley will enter the state playoffs, which start Tuesday. The Vikings will face District 3 champ Hempfield, a 2-0 winner over Cumberland Valley.
“We get a lot of flack for how we play,” said Perkiomen Valley coach Bob McCabe, who is in his 21st year at the helm of the Vikings. “But our defense is outstanding and our goalkeeper. Those are our strengths, and we play to those.
“We are not generating 20 chances. We are getting two, three or four. So we have to capitalize on one of those.”
With the victory, PV established a new school record for wins (17) in a single season as well as shutouts (13).
“They keep amazing me,” said McCabe, whose Vikes compete in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division. “Our play is not the prettiest, but it’s been working.”
McCabe noted that his team will not only represent the school at states, but the entire PAC. He also felt his squad took advantage of its home grass field against the Trojans, whom he termed “a great team.”
Wissahickon coach Stuart Malcolm felt his team controlled play most of the game but just came up short in the final outcome.
“We had a lot of opportunities down there,” said Malcolm. “We worked to our striker all the time and took care of the back. They had a couple of corners, and the ball bounced for them. That is the name of the game. We have to accept it. We had the ball most of the time, but they won the game. Credit to them.”
“That’s kind of how we play every game,” said Daubenspeck, who had six saves. “We counter attack every game. We love to play defense. That’s what we’re good at.”
Senior captains Michael Weir at midfield and defenders Daubenspeck, along with Ryan Dao and Jake Rogers helped lead the way for PV. Junior AJ Hansen made numerous big plays in the back. Senior Andrew Zielke and Holmes also helped bottle up Wissahickon’s penetrations downfield.
Wissahickon senior Jacob Cohen was active up front throughout the game for the Trojans, as was senior Michael Steitz on restarts from the back line that assisted junior keeper Jun Yuh. Senior Jacob Kaffey, junior Eddie Fortescue and junior Trey Schwartz were also busy for the visitors.
Cohen was awarded a free kick midway through the first half, but Daubenspeck blocked that attempt to the right of the net.
Love talked about his goal, which was the difference.
“We had the corner kicks and the first one was short,” said Love. “On the second one, we were clearing back to get it in. I just ran back, and he (Holmes) hit it to me. I hit it with my left foot and it went in. Now we are on to states.”
Love said many of the current Vikings were part of a PV squad that was considered the worst in school history just a few years ago. Now he and his teammates are part of what has to be considered the best team in school history because of its unprecedented accomplishments.
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