PHOENIXVILLE >> The postseason carries a finality to it. Most games include one team putting a bow on their season.
On Tuesday in a District 1 Class 3A first round matchup, Phoenixville was the one saying goodbye following a 1-0 defeat against Villa Maria at Washington Field.
The game’s deciding moment came from a free kick 50 yards out by Sarah Goldblum. The senior captain played the ball forward to senior Ashley Reilly, who was making a horizontal run across the defensive line. Reilly got just the right touch on her header, a shot that exceeded the reaction time of Phoenixville goalkeeper Ella Stout, who was excellent throughout (five saves).
The seniors both sensed the moment with 12:22 left on the clock was a huge opportunity.
“The defender who normally takes them in that area, I told her, ‘I need this one.’ I just felt it,” Goldblum said.
“I could tell as soon we got that free kick,” Reilly said. “I was on the outside and sprinting across (the penalty area) and I could feel it.”
Villa Maria has been staring that finality in the face for the better part of two weeks, needing to win their final three in the regular season to return to the district playoffs, rising from 12th in the rankings to a qualifying No. 9. They have proven they aren’t ready for their season, or in some cases career, to complete.
“Neither of us are playing in college, so this is really our last season and we want to make it one to remember,” Goldblum said.
Villa Maria, which reached the district quarterfinals a year ago, meets No. 1 seed Strath Haven in Friday’s round of 8.
Phoenixville’s season concluded with a winning season, 9-8-1, led largely by senior standouts Gabrielle Perrotto and Leeza Galli.
While the Phantoms were unable to create enough quality chances to advance, head coach Tim Raub was pleased with the effort.
“Always disappointed with the result when it’s a loss, but we did what we could. I thought we played well enough to stay in the game, but an unlucky break was the difference,” Raub said. “Credit to Villa. They put the one away they needed to.”
It was a very young Phoenixville roster that graduates just Perrotto — who became the program’s all-time career scoring leader on Oct. 5 — Galli, Hannah Sands and Madison Wineburg.
Raub will also step away after six seasons guiding the Phantoms.
“There’s a lot back and whoever gets this program has a lot to work with,” he said.
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