FRANCONIA >> Katelyn Harkrader played the finest game of her career, giving the Knights a boost when they needed it most.
“She kept us in it when we were pretty slow and pretty low,” North Penn coach Jason Grubb said of Harkrader’s performance, which helped the Knights pull away from a 2-2 deadlock at halftime with rival Souderton Area. “She stepped up. It was a big game for her and a big help for us.”
Harkrader scored a career-high five goals to power North Penn to a 10-3 win and the NP boys followed with a 12-6 victory in the second half of the doubleheader, as the Knights completed a regular-season sweep of their rival Tuesday evening at Souderton.
“We started to get fast breaks and it started to work out,” Harkrader said of the Knights’ second-half play. “We started to work as a team.
“We have a lot of hole sets and sprinters,” she said, “and I think we just have a really good mix of people. We really want it.”
The defending State Champs got a pair of goals each from Kaelan Daly and Haley Muth, as well as a goal from Nicole Chiappa, in what could be a preview of a Eastern Conference playoff matchup as well as a possible matchup at states.
“Right before the third quarter started, we all just got really hyped up,” Harkrader said, “and we just wanted to win.
“I’m really excited for the postseason. I think we have a great team.”
The Knights outscored Big Red 4-1 in the third to break open the contest.
Souderton’s defense had kept it tight.
“The girls played very well, especially defensively,” Indians coach Joe Hay said. “We need to put some more balls in the net, but defensively the girls played very well. That was a good experience for them. If they can play with North Penn, they can play with the best teams in the area.
“Our boys just need to cut down the mistakes. We made eight or 10 mistakes that North Penn didn’t make, and that’s the difference in the game.”
The Knights converted turnovers into more scoring opportunities, with Sean Faikish and A.J. Patterson leading the way with a hat trick each. Sage Trautz added a pair of goals, and Faikish and Carter Mitchell each had four steals.
“The boys are starting to click a little bit better,” Grubb said of the defending State Champs. “Coming out of Beast of the East, they’re playing pretty decent, and we have a big weekend coming up (at the Erie Challenge).”
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