UPPER DUBLIN >> Sean Touey had a tough act to follow Wednesday night.
In the first act of a girls and boys soccer doubleheader at Upper Dublin, Touey’s younger sister Casey, a sophomore on the Galloping Ghosts girls team, had scored a pair of goals and assisted on another. But Sean wasn’t out to one-up his sister and instead, was pretty inspired by the little bit of the match he had seen after warming up.
With the senior striker leading the way, the Ghosts boys came out energized and levied it into a dominant first half in an eventual 7-0 win over UD, with Sean Touey bagging a hat-trick.
“She’s a sophomore playing varsity and I’m proud of her for all her accomplishments because I know it’s not easy having played as a sophomore,” Touey said. “I think it’s awesome that the two of us, playing the same position, can come out on the same night on the same field. It’s something special when you see that.”
The newest team in the Suburban One League American Conference, Abington has wasted little time in asserting itself atop the conference table. Simply looking at the roster, it’s not that much of a surprise because there’s a lot of firepower suiting up for Abington on matchdays. But, consider the fact that four SOL American teams — Upper Dublin, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Hatboro-Horsham and Wissahickon – made the District 1 playoffs last year and on paper, it looked like a loaded conference.
Touey noted that on Wednesday, going on the road to one of the best teams in the conference over the past few years, a fast start was imperative. Abington (5-0-0, 3-0-0 conference) got just that, with Liam Freel hammering home a shot inside the UD six-yard box following a corner a shade more than three and a half minutes into the contest.
“It was important for us to get out early, this is a good competitor and we sometimes have trouble getting off to a good start,” Touey said. “We don’t really change anything, we know we’re going into a new conference and playing teams we never played before but at the same time, they’ve never played us. We make sure we go into each new game against each new team with the same intensity.”
Touey then took over, scoring three times over a 12-minute span to put Abington up 4-0. His first goal, a typical direct run and finish for the forward, came about after a ball from Freel hit Touey in the back, went up in the air and fell into the senior’s path.
The eventual 5-0 halftime lead didn’t end the game, but the Ghosts felt pretty good about where they were with 40 minutes still to go.
“We want to go into each game knowing the other team is good, so we have to be better,” Touey said. “Having everyone healthy is important because when we’re all together, we click really well. When we got on the field, there was a certain focus we hadn’t necessarily had 100 percent in the other games but once we saw that first ball go in the back of the net, it just gave us so much more confidence.”
Upper Dublin (1-3-1, 0-2-1) has not had the start it hoped for this fall. The Flying Cardinals have struggled with a full 80-minute performance and while injuries have played a part, there’s a lot of talent back from last year’s playoff team.
Cardinals coach Andy Meehan said every team in the conference has to be accounted for, especially with Cheltenham and Upper Moreland showing well early in the season and Springfield Twp also well-organized despite its smaller size.
“It’s accountability,” Meehan said. “The players need to make sure they’re putting in the effort they need to put in and if they’re not, we have players on the bench willing to put in that effort. There has to be that accountability that when you’re stepping on the field, you’re working harder than the other team.”
Meehan feels the talent is there on his team, but the frustrating end is the group hasn’t figured out how to put it all together yet. Guys like Colin Asper, Matthew Yoon, Alex Goldenberg and Jordan Kahney have put their effort in and Meehan said when they have it going well, their play does seem to radiate out across the field and the team feeds off that.
“There’s spells where we do have it and spells where we don’t,” Meehan said. “It’s the frustrating part as a coach because I know they have it, it’s just getting it out of them.”
With a veteran group offensively, the Ghosts have managed that work rate well. Touey also lauded the play of the team’s defensive unit so far, with a relatively new group conceding just two goals in five matches.
“We have a lot of star power on this team but when we try to play as a bunch of individuals, it doesn’t come together,” Touey said. “When we all play together, we move the ball and use our skill to win a ball in the final third or get the ball up the field and through.”
Even though he ended up out-scoring his sister on Wednesday, Sean Touey said there wouldn’t be any bragging at home. The siblings, who both wear the No. 22, have different styles of play, but at the end of the day, they have the same job which is to put away goals for their respective teams.
“I’ve tried to teach her what I could, but she learned most of it on her own,” Sean said. “We do have different abilities, but we’re always looking to use our different abilities together and there’s definitely that competition. I don’t want to say it the wrong way, but if I know she scored, then I want to score. For us, it’s awesome to be able to come out and represent our school the same way.”