LANGHORNE – In a rare event, both the Pennsbury girls and boys soccer teams swept Neshaminy for the 2017 season. Both the boys and the girls teams split a pair of games last year.
First, the Lady Falcons (12-1-1, 8-1: SONL), after trailing 1-0 on a goal by Neshaminy sophomore Kristin Curley, came back to beat the visiting Lady Skins, 3-1, on a pair of second-half goals by Pennsbury sophomore Evie Ciaccia.
The Falcons’ youth was also served when sophomore Gabby Zalot tallied the equalizer with a minute and change remaining in the first half to go into the intermission deadlocked at 1-all.
“They are stepping up big time,” said Pennsbury senior Jenna Peters, of the underclassmen on her team. “We got Evie up top and she’s finally learned her runs – to get in slower so that she finishes them.”
Less than a minute before the equalizer by Zalot, Falcons junior forward Christine Cataldo-Smith put a ball into the back of the net that was disqualified. Officials ruled first-half Skins goalkeeper Riley Spingler had possession of the ball before it was booted in between the pipes.
In the boys game at Neshaminy, Pennsbury senior Arlyn Buondonno drew first blood when he took a feed from junior Randy Dickersbach and put it into the back of the net nine minutes into the duel, which took place at Harry E. Franks Stadium.
While the Falcons took the 1-0 lead into the intermission, the Skins came back from the break with a ton of pressure, a force that eventually resulted in a goal by Neshaminy senior Mike Mandia off a feed from Matt Leonhauser.
Pennsbury immediately tilted the field back in the other direction.
“Even though we didn’t get a goal out of our next couple of possessions, I thought we took it back and we started tilting things back the other way,” said Pennsbury head coach Tom Stoddart.
“It was just a matter of time before we scored again.”
Playing in place of Dickersbach after the intermission, Falcons sophomore midfielder Joe Ficarotta had a hand in both second-half strikes by Pennsbury, though he scored neither.
Ficarotta drew fouls on each of Pennsbury’s second-half goals. On the first, the Falcons were awarded a free kick and on the second, Pennsbury was given a penalty kick. The Falcons scored on both.
On the winning strike tallied in the 59th minute, Pennsbury junior Matt Tennant sliced the free kick from the 40. From there, classmate Javier Sosa headed the ball from the left side into the goalmouth where sophomore Nyles Cayemitte used the back of his foot to chip it past Skins freshman goalkeeper Trevor Rush for a 2-1 Falcon lead.
With seven minutes remaining in regulation, Ficarotta was brought down in the box by a Neshaminy defender. Awarded a penalty kick, Pennsbury senior Obi Onuoha made no mistake when he slid the Falcons’ third goal of the game into the right side of the net.
With the win, Pennsbury pushes its way to 9-4-1, 6-3 in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference while the Skins fall to 5-9-1 overall, 3-6 in the SOL standings.
“We certainly worked hard; we created some opportunities, we just couldn’t finish,” said Neshaminy head coach Tom Foley. “I think they had four shots on goal and three of them went in today.
“It’s been the story of our year. Every single mistake we make seems to wind up in the back of the net.”
As of Sunday, Oct. 8, the Pennsbury boys were ranked 18th in the District 1 Class 4A Power Rankings. No other team in the SOL National Conference is in the top 25 though division leader Council Rock North was notched at No. 27 and CR South was at No. 30. Only the top 24 teams go to districts.
On the girls side, Pennsbury started the week ranked fifth and division leader Council Rock South – which lost 1-0 to Downingtown West yesterday (Oct. 9) at CR North, was sixth.
Ranked 24th, Neshaminy (7-5-1, 5-3-1: SONL) still has a chance and CR North was listed at 30th.
Pennsbury 3, Neshaminy 1
(Oct. 10 at Pennsbury)
Pennsbury (12-1-1, 8-1: SONL) 1 2 – 3
Neshaminy (7-5-1, 5-3-1: SONL) 1 0 – 1
NESHAMINY GOALS: Kristin Curley, unassisted, 18th minute
PENNSBURY GOALS: Gabby Zalot, from Jenna Peters, 39th minute; Evie Ciaccia, from Christine Cataldo Smith, 64th minute; Ciaccia, from Dani Cady, 70th minute.
Pennsbury 3, Neshaminy 1
(Oct. 10 at Neshaminy)
Pennsbury (9-4-1, 6-3: SONL) 1 2 – 3
Neshaminy (5-9-1, 3-6: SONL) 0 1 – 1
NESHAMINY GOALS: Mike Mandia, from Matt Leonhauser, 50th minute.
PENNSBURY GOALS: Arlyn Buondonno, from Randy Dickersbach, 9th minute; Nyles Cayemitte, from Javier Sosa, Matt Tennant, 59th minute; Obi Onuoha, PK, 73rd minute.