BUCKTOWN >> Less than 12 hours before the Pioneer Athletic Conference boys’ soccer semifinals, Spring Ford midfielder Ronnie Minges sat in a doctor’s office, unsure if he would be able to play in the Rams’ game against Perkiomen Valley.
“I made up my mind, I was going to get cleared,” Minges said. “I knew my team needed me. I told the doctor, ‘I’m still in pain, but I need to play tonight.’”
Just 10 days removed from separating his shoulder, Minges not only played, he dominated, scoring both of Spring Ford’s goals in their 2-1 victory over the Vikings.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Spring Ford coach Brent Kissel said. “The other team has to account for him when he’s on the field, he’s dangerous, so having him back definitely helps.”
Minges scored his first goal less than a minute into the game, redirecting a throw-in from Cole Dampf and giving Spring Ford a 1-0 lead.
“Dampf has a great long ball,” Minges said. “I saw it coming in my area, I went up and was able to put it on goal.”
Perk Valley had a chance to equalize the score late in the first half with a penalty kick, but Spring Ford goaltender Hunter Hudak was able to make a diving save in order to preserve the Rams’ lead.
The Vikings did tie the game up in the second half when midfielder Michael Weir snuck a ball by Hudak, but Spring Ford was quick to respond. Less than a minute later, Minges potted his second goal of the night on a beautiful shot off an assist from Brett Gulati.
“I saw Gulati get the ball to the end line and I knew he was going to get a pass across,” Minges explained. “It hit the other team, came right to me and I knew I had to bury it at that point.”
“I think we got a little bit caught up in the fact that we just tied the game,” Perk Valley coach Bob McCabe said. “We forgot there was still a game going on and, all of a sudden, we’re down 2-1.”
Perk Valley put on a lot of pressure in the closing minutes of the game, pushing the ball deep into Spring Ford territory and getting four shots on goal. However, Spring Ford’s defense was up to the task, keeping the ball out of the net. Hudak finished the night with seven saves and the Rams were able to defend both of Perk Valley’s corner kicks.
“We thought they were going to counter-attack us a lot, but they were very aggressive,” Kissel said. “Luckily, our guys were ready and we were able to come away with a big win.”
Tuesday night’s game was the third time Spring Ford and Perk Valley faced off, with the Rams winning all three contests. Spring Ford also knocked Perk Valley out of the playoffs in 2013, the last time the Vikings made it to the postseason.
“I’m hoping to one day get to here and not play them,” McCabe joked. “Every time I’ve made it this far, we’ve been knocked out by Spring Ford.”
With the win, Spring Ford will move on the PAC boys’ soccer championship on Thursday afternoon against Phoenixville.