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Stingy Penncrest earns berth in Class 4A girls soccer state tourney

Penncrest goalie Bryn McLaughlin, seen in last year's playoffs, hasn't allowed a goal in three playoff games this season as the Lions beat Downingtown East, 1-0, Saturday to return to the state tournament. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)
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Getting to states has become the norm for Penncrest girls soccer. Getting there in the big-school classification, three times winning as an underdog – well, that part’s new.

Shayna Polsky’s first-half goal stood up as the 20th-seeded Lions booked a place in the District 1 Class 4A semifinals with a 1-0 win over No. 5 Downingtown East Saturday night. The win moves Penncrest into the state tournament for the third straight year, the last two in the smaller 3A classification.

Polsky scored on a Logan Morris corner kick in the first half, following the blueprint that the Lions have ridden to success this season and fitting the blustery conditions Saturday night.

That was all the defense would need, with Bryn McLaughlin pitching her third straight shutout in the postseason. McLaughlin made six saves for Penncrest, which hasn’t allowed a goal in three district games and has ousted the fourth and fifth seed, after taking care of Central Bucks West in the second round. Polsky paired with Kenna Kaut, a converted outside back, in the center to handle the Cougars physicality in the center of the pitch, with Morris and Katie Sparling doing the job of containing on the outside.

The win sends Penncrest to the district semis Tuesday to meet Souderton, the No. 8 seed that downed No. 17 Haverford, 1-0, Saturday. The game at Souderton is at 7 p.m.

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