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Spring-Ford closes in on PAC title redemption with 2-1 win over Boyertown

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BUCKTOWN >> Spring-Ford earned a return trip to the Pioneer Athletic Conference boys soccer championship game with a 2-1 win over Boyertown Tuesday night at Owen J. Roberts’ Wildcat Stadium. But the Rams know that’s only a first step to their goals after a disappointing end to last season.

The No. 1 seed and Liberty Division champion Rams (12-0-2 PAC, 15-1-3 overall) will play for the title Thursday at 7 p.m. back at Wildcat Stadium against No. 3 seed Perkiomen Valley, a 5-0 winner over No. 2 seed Pottsgrove.

Boyertown (8-5-1, 11-6-2), the No. 4 seed, will regroup for the District 1 playoffs that begin next week.

Dimitrije Randjelovic (10) and Spring-Ford’s Brett Gulati fight for possession. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Aiden Hudon and Colin Trainor scored for the winners and Brandon Duke assisted on both goals. Nick Willson scored for the Bears.

“We’re happy with the result tonight, but we have another goal in mind,” said Spring-Ford coach Brent Kissel, whose team lost to Phoenixville 3-1 in last year’s final and then dropped its first game in district play. “This is a first step for us.”

Spring-Ford took the lead in the eighth minute after the ball was knocked around in front of the goal before being booted in by Hudon. That’s the way it stayed until 10 minutes into the second half when Duke crossed a pass to Trainor, who knocked it into the far left corner with a bending left-footed strike.

Then Boyertown came back with its goal a little more than two minutes later with Willson scoring after a set piece delivery from Landon Wenger.

“My guys are going to compete,” said Bear coach Mark Chambers. “My guys are never going to give up.”

Spring-Ford’s Colin Trainor (14), Brandon Duke (10) and Aiden Hudon celebrate after Trainor’s goal in the second half. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Boyertown had several other good chances the rest of the way, with three corner kicks and a pair of shots missing just wide of the goal. The Rams nearly scored shortly before their second-half goal on a rapid succession where a hard shot hit the crossbar on Hudon’s long-range free kick and a follow-up try from the right wing was blocked.

Kissel thought restarts were key to his team’s win.

“Set pieces … that’s one of the things we talked about,” he said. “They’re so important in soccer. They were critical for us. Another thing we talked about was that we’re the No. 1 seed and they’re the No. 4 seed, but that didn’t matter. It was going to be a dogfight.”

The Rams had beaten Boyertown 1-0 in overtime and 2-0 during the regular season. And the fact that his team lost three close games to Spring-Ford makes Chambers optimistic heading into the district playoffs.

“The No. 2 team in the district (the Rams) … that’s a good sign,” said the Bears’ first-year coach. “That’s a good sign heading into districts for us. I like our competitive nature. I’ve got some very young guys, most of whom haven’t played in this environment. They (the Rams) have prepared us well for the district tournament. We should be okay.”

Spring-Ford will be making its seventh PAC finals appearance in 12 years. The Rams won the title in 2010 and 2013.

Boyertown’s Derek Dierolf (2) and Spring-Ford’s Sal Ibarra battle for the ball. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

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