History underscores this year’s glory rides for Radnor, Strath Haven

When Sam Holt took over the Radnor soccer program in 1984 from his mentor Bob Siemons, among the things he was bequeathed was a pile of papers, the detritus of two decades running a team.

Mike Barr’s role as unofficial historian around that time was more unspoken. Chris Jones, the first coach of a unified Strath Haven, had written it all down in the early 1980s – goalscorers, all-state picks, schedules, records. So Barr decided to follow suit?

The pair didn’t set out to add “chronicler” to their resumes. It wasn’t even posterity that they had in mind, per se. Holt didn’t organize Radnor’s history so that four decades later, he’d be on email chains with members of the 1980 state runner-up team, in locations around the globe. Barr didn’t seek to become the keeper of knowledge for one of Pennsylvania’s greatest programs at Strath Haven.

The dual intent wasn’t necessarily to have their protégés use that info to build on their legacies. But that’s how it transpired at both Radnor and Strath Haven.

This weekend marks the first time that two Delaware County boys soccer teams have played for PIAA championships in the same season. Strath Haven will take on West Allegheny in Friday’s Class 3A final; Radnor will meet Wilson in the Class 4A championship Saturday, both at HersheyPark Stadium.

It’s no coincidence that those two are the only Delco programs to ever have made a PIAA final, and the reason involves the legacies that Holt and Barr left at their respective programs, and also the freedom for successors to apply their personal spin on that heritage.

“It’s pretty cool, because you don’t know that it’s happening as it’s happening,” Holt said Thursday. “There wasn’t any structure when you were making it happen. It just happened, and it’s a real positive.”

Holt was revered through the decades at Radnor. Siemons founded the program in 1965; Holt began working his way through the middle school ranks in 1968, after three years in the army stationed in Alaska and Vietnam. He filled every role up the ladder before taking over the Raiders varsity.

When he took over, Holt saw the way in which programs like Lower Merion, Upper Darby and Barr’s Strath Haven operated, incorporating the past into the present.

“It seemed like the thing to do,” Holt said. “When you build a history and current players see the older players come back and make the hall of fame and they come back to the induction at the yearly banquet, there’s just a connection.”

Even the notoriously feisty Barr knew it, and his respect for Holt speaks volumes.

“It’s easy for me to hold animosity toward some coaches because sometimes that drove me to be more successful,” Barr said. “But for Sam, I admired him from the time I met him. …

“Sam had never gotten into states – I think they only took three teams from District 1. They were playing large schools like we were, we were playing for the championship of District 1, and I remember watching his face when Radnor clinched third place to get into states, and him hugging his son, Eric (a two-time All-Delco goalie who graduated in 1993). I almost felt like this is better than me winning districts.”

“Strath Haven was really who planted the flag, and the rest of us were really intent on competing with Mike and his teams,” Holt said. “Right now, that we’re rooting for each other is really cool.”

Were that history hermetically sealed like a ship in a bottle, it would make for a good reminiscing and little more. But at both programs, it’s a living, breathing history. Radnor has only had five head coaches in program history. Alan Mezger, the 1990 Daily Times Player of the Year, took over for Holt. Kyle Shilcock-Elliott, another former Holt player, followed, leading Radnor to the 2004 PIAA Class AA title. Now, Joe Caruolo is in charge, with Shilcock-Elliott as his assistant, a pairing which brought home a Class AAA district title two years ago.

Caruolo didn’t play for Holt, but rather earned All-Delco honors playing at Carroll. Holt raves about “a screaming goal” Caruolo scored against Radnor back in the day.

But like his four predecessors, Caruolo teaches in the district. After the Raiders advanced to the final Tuesday, Caruolo thanked Holt for preserving the history that he’s imparted to the team.

“To be a part of history and make your own history, that’s kind of what differentiates us from a lot of programs,” Caruolo said. “Credit to Sam Holt who kept record of the history dating back to 1965 and allowed you to play for something special … to play a role in history.”

The line of descent is more direct at Haven. Ryan O’Neill was the 1995 Daily Times Player of the Year, fueling one of Barr’s five state titles. He joined the staff and took over when Barr resigned in 2006.

O’Neill, whom Barr bestows the utmost praise as “the biggest overachiever in high school soccer that I ever saw” for his slight frame and immense skill, has been at the helm of the Panthers for 13 seasons. O’Neill succeeded early with the nucleus handed down from Barr. But as the landscape has shifted with the advent of developmental academies, few schools have been as hard hit by recruitment as Haven.

Yet O’Neill has found his way to pen a new chapter with this year’s District 1 title, and he’s mobilized the platform of its illustrious history to do so.

“You couldn’t ask for anything else,” O’Neill said. “It shows the kids how much history is behind it all, how important it is to the team, the school and the community, the alumni. And they’ve really seen that in the support they’ve received in the last couple of weeks.”

Holt said that of all the buzz he’s heard from former players, the most excited are the 1980 team, which lost in the final to Fleetwood. Several members plan to drive to Hershey, many of whom met and talked to the current varsity squad a few years ago when they were in town for a reunion.

It’s further evidence of the transformative power that occurs when individuals meld as a team on a deep states run. That journey creates the history that fosters more of it, as Barr and Holt once did, and as close friends O’Neill and Caruolo are now doing for untold future generations.

“I don’t think there’s a more joyous moment playing soccer than going to a state championship,” said Barr, who went to six of them. “… I did send a text to Ryan yesterday to remind his kids that winning a state championship is something that’s going to last forever for these kids and tie them together for the rest of their lives. We’ll forget who won state championships, but those kids will always remember and it’ll tie them into the future together.”

“At the end of the day, we’re into being a part of something, and that has been a key for me,” O’Neill said. “It’s been a long time to get to winning at this level, but I think when you make it about the enjoyment of the experience and when I can reach each individual player across the whole program, when that becomes the ideal goal, everything else comes together.”

Delco Football Friday: Turay, Penn Wood say they’ve learned from Rustin mistake

LANSDOWNE — Penn Wood’s Aliyoh Turay remembers the pain and frustration of watching a second-half lead slip away against West Chester Rustin in September.

The Patriots’ only loss of the year was to the team they’ll see Saturday at Kerr Field in a District 1 Class 5A semifinal game. Kickoff is 6 p.m. Originally scheduled for Friday night, the game was postponed a day due to the worse-than-expected snowstorm that blasted the region Thursday.

“For me, I’m excited to play them again,” Turay said at practice Wednesday. “In that first game, it was ours but we beat ourselves mentally. It’s great to have a second chance to play them.

“Also, the last time we played them, I pulled my hamstring … and just tried to play through it. But I knew I couldn’t sit down and watch. I had to get out there with my team.”

Turay, a talented senior linebacker, was dealing with another injury that limited his practice time this week. Don’t worry, he said, because there’s not a chance he’s missing this one.

“Oh, I’ll be playing,” said Turay, who leads the top-seeded Patriots in total tackles (127) and tackles for loss (six).

Penn Wood’s defense is among the top units in the county. Dashawn Brickle, with 12 sacks, has been a monster in the trenches. And the secondary is second to none in Delco, led by Edmund Dennis and Omar Ba, who have blanketed opposing receivers all season long.

Rustin had the Patriots’ number in the second half of a comeback win in September. It was a bitter result, one that knocked Penn Wood off its tracks. The Patriots (11-1) rebounded from that defeat, winning every game since. They captured their second straight Del Val League title and became the first team in program history to win a district playoff game.

“For us it’s more about the mental than it is the physical. We know how good we are, physically, but when you understand something mentally you become dangerous,” Turay said. “(Rustin’s) speed on offense is really good … but we refuse to get blocked by anybody. We know how to recognize plays. One thing I realize about Rustin is they like to use No. 2 (Michael Covert) a lot with their jet plays, so we’ll be ready.”

Covert scored four touchdowns (two runs, two catches) in No. 5 Rustin’s 42-6 shellacking of fourth-seeded Academy Park last week.

“As long as we know their tendencies and all of that, and everybody knows what they’re doing, we’ll be good,” Turay said.

The Patriots overcame the initial shock of a 21-0 deficit to No. 9 Interboro last week. Three touchdown passes to Kennedy Poles from Desman Johnson Jr. in the third quarter enabled the Patriots to recover. They came back to score a 44-28 victory.

“That shows a lot about the character of the team. If that happened in the beginning of the season we would probably be arguing and start to fall apart,” Johnson said. “In the first half, we were down but nobody was blaming each other. We came back out and came together as a team, got the momentum back. Nobody wanted to go home. We are having the best season ever at Penn Wood.”

As Johnson noted, the first game with Rustin and last week’s contest against Interboro are comparable in some ways.

“Similar to the Interboro game. When we heard about Rustin, we didn’t think they would be a big factor,” Johnson said. “We had a good lead (against Rustin), then they basically did to us in the second half what we did to Interboro. We were winning at halftime, people thought we got this game in the bag, but they came back out and put up a couple of touchdowns. They stopped us a couple times and we lost.”

The Patriots feel that Rustin didn’t beat them the first time. Rather, they beat themselves.

“We had a couple drives in that first half where we were in the red zone and didn’t finish. In the second half, we lined up wrong a lot and we lost discipline,” coach Ato Troop said. “Our two worst halves of football this season were the second half against Rustin and the first half of last week against Interboro. We came out last week and we were flat and Interboro played really well. We fixed some things and were able to come back. We can’t do the same thing this week.”

Rustin, after all, loves to play possession football as evidenced by its domination of Academy Park’s defense last week. The Golden Knights (9-2) held the ball for 36 plays in the first half.

“We have to come out and be ready to play well all the way through. The first time against Rustin, we were up two scores going into halftime and we ended up letting that slip,” Troop said. “You never want to lose any game, but I think we learned from it. We were kind of arrogant in that game, but the players learned.”

Johnson is on the verge of breaking Delaware County’s single-season passing record. It’s not a matter of if, but when he will take down Anthony Paoletti of Marple Newtown’s record of 2,793 yards. Johnson (2,771) is 23 yards away from setting the mark.

Poles has both the county’s single-season and career receiving records. Penn Wood has made plenty of history in 2018, from a program and an individual level. None of the records personal accolades will matter very much to the Patriots if they fail to extend their season beyond this weekend.

“Even though Kennedy has a couple of records, and I might break a record soon, it would feel so much better to have a district and state championship with all of that,” Johnson said. “That is our main goal as a team.”

In a District 1 Class 6A semifinal Friday:

Garnet Valley (12-0) at Coatesville (12-0), 7

This is the rematch a lot of Delco fans have been anticipating.

The third-seeded Jaguars and No. 2 Red Raiders slugged it out in the 2017 district final. Avery Young’s pick-six in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter was the difference in a 35-28 Coatesville win.

Many of Coatesville’s star players from last season’s champion squad are back and better in 2018. Led by outstanding junior quarterback Ricky Ortega, the Red Raiders are averaging 46.5 points per game. They scored their fewest points of the season in last week’s 38-19 trouncing of Downingtown East.

Garnet Valley’s defense, which is led by All-Delco lineman Cade Brennan (7.5 sacks) and Evan Hrvinak (9.0 sacks), is capable of limiting Coatesville’s high-powered offense. 

Offensively, the Jags will rely on a stellar line headed by senior Kyle McCullough, senior quarterback Cole Palis, and a balanced rushing attack that produced 455 yards in a 49-14 thumping of Quakertown in the quarterfinals. Colin Robinson, Dom LaBricciosa, Dan Bradley and Greg Reynolds have all thrived in the Jags’ run-heavy system.

The winner plays either No. 4 Downingtown West or top-seeded North Penn in the district final.

All-Philadelphia Catholic League Football Teams


Red Division

MVP: Kyle McCord, St. Joseph’s Prep
Coach: Gabe Infante, St. Joseph’s Prep

First Team

Kyle McCord, Sophomore, St. Joseph’s Prep
Kolbe Burrell, Junior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Tom Santiago, Junior, Archbishop Wood
Marques Mason, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Manny Quiles, Senior, La Salle College
WR/TE Katob Joseph, Senior, Father Judge
Johnny Freeman, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Marvin Harrison Jr., Sophomore, St. Joseph’s Prep
Tyreek Chappell, Sophomore, Archbishop Ryan
Luke Stengel, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Anthony Cerruti, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Casey Stephenson, Junior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Ryan Wills, Sophomore, La Salle College
OL Kyle Davis, Junior, Archbishop Ryan
Connor Bishop, Senior, Archbishop Wood
MP Sean Daly, Senior, La Salle College
DL/DE Cody Gibson, Senior, Roman Catholic
DL/DE Ryan Savage, Junior, La Salle College
DL/DE Chris Brown, Junior, Archbishop Ryan
DL/DE Cooper Kim, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Connor Bishop, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Liam Johnson, Junior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Myles Talley, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
LB Dillon Trainer, Junior, La Salle College
LB Colin Boyd, Senior, Archbishop Ryan
Mekhi Long, Sophomore, Archbishop Ryan
Zaire McLaurin, Sophomore, La Salle College
DB Joe Wade, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Zach Bouggess, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Jake Gandolfo, Junior, La Salle College
Gavin Dioniso, Senior, Archbishop Ryan

Second Team

QB Shane Dooley, Senior, Father Judge
Sam Brown, Freshman, La Salle College
RB Brian Burton, Junior, Roman
Kahlil Diarrah, Senior, La Salle College
WR/TE Kyron Long, Senior, Archbishop Ryan
WR/TE Bill Cook, Senior, Archbishop Wood
C Declan Tuffy, Senior, La Salle College
Matt McGeary, Junior, St. Joseph’s Prep
Leland Mersky, Senior, La Salle College
OL Brian Snyder, Senior, Roman
Brett Gross, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Anthony Leneghan, Junior, St. Joseph’s Prep
DL/DE Justin Martinez, Senior, Father Judge
Leland Mersky, Senior, La Salle College
Luke Stengel, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Dylan Urbanowski, Senior, Archbishop Wood
Brendan Fusco, Senior, La Salle College
Jeremiah Trotter, Sophomore, St. Joseph’s Prep
LB Jerome Best, Junior, Roman
DB Katob Joseph, Senior, Father Judge
Tyreek Chappell, Sophomore, Archbishop Ryan
Tyson Goldstein, Junior, La Salle College
Michael Alexander, Senior, St. Joseph’s Prep
P Ryan Flaherty, Junior, Roman
Bob Hennessey, Senior, Archbishop Wood


Blue Division

MVP: Patrick Garwo, Conwell-Egan
Coach: Jack Techtmann, Conwell-Egan

First Team

QB Alex Goldsby, Conwell-Egan
QB Lonnie Rice, Bishop McDevitt
RB Patrick Garwo, Conwell-Egan
RB Keed Kpoto, Cardinal O’Hara
RB Dan Dutkiewicz, Lansdale Catholic
RB Jon-Luke Peaker, Bishop McDevitt
WR/TE Koran Butler, Archbishop Carroll
WR/TE Tysheem Johnson, Neumann-Goretti
WR/TE Chris Kirby, Cardinal O’Hara
WR/TE Seth Degree, West Catholic
C Andrew Metro, Bishop McDevitt
OL Tom Burns, Conwell-Egan
OL Dwayne Majors, Conwell-Egan
OL Louie Perri, Cardinal O’Hara
OL Matt Brulinski, Lansdale Catholic
MP Terome Mitchell, Conwell-Egan
DL/DE Gerald Smith, Bonner & Prendie
DL/DE Dwayne Majors, Conwell-Egan
DL/DE Damen Studstill, West Catholic
DL/DE Tyrone Fowler, Bishop McDevitt
DL/DE Louie Perri, Cardinal O’Hara
LB Ritchie Kimmel, Archbishop Carroll
LB Richard Cotton, Bishop McDevitt
LB Chris Majors, Conwell-Egan
LB Kha’Jey Frazier, West Catholic
DB Zach Butler, Archbishop Carroll
DB Nasim Cooper, Bonner & Prendie
DB Tysheem Johnson, Neumann-Goretti
DB Zay Scott, Bonner & Prendie
P Austin Alcorn, Bishop McDevitt
Juliano Mastrocola, Archbishop Carroll

Second Team

Russell Minor-Shaw, Archbishop Carroll
RB Zahir Booker, West Catholic
RB Chuck Ingram, Bonner & Prendie
WR/TE Tre’Sean Bouie, Neumann-Goretti
WR/TE James Welde, Bonner & Prendie
Lawrence Richardson, Bishop McDevitt
C Pat Griswald, Archbishop Carroll
C Andrew Haggans, Neumann-Goretti
OL Joe Kelly, Cardinal O’Hara
OL Chauncey Kratee, Conwell-Egan
OL Rickquan Rivera, West Catholic
OL Tyrone Fowler, Bishop McDevitt
DL/DE John Caponi, Cardinal O’Hara
DL/DE Rickquan Rivera, West Catholic
DL/DE Djuan Harris, Conwell-Egan
DL/DE Nasire Griffin, Bishop McDevitt
LB Shawn Johnson, Archbishop Carroll
LB Kevin Gianoni, Lansdale Catholic
LB Zahir Booker, West Catholic
Lawrence Richardson, Bishop McDevitt
DB Tre’Sean Bouie, Neumann-Goretti
DB Andrew Garwo, Conwell-Egan
DB Lonnie Rice, Bishop McDevitt
Juliano Mastrocola, Archbishop Carroll
PK Austin Alcorn, Bishop McDevitt



Lower Merion grad Dr. Joel Fish talks about sports parenting

Dr. Joel Fish

Nationally-renowned sport psychologist Dr. Joel Fish is a Lower Merion High School graduate and a recent inductee into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. As director of The Center For Sport Psychology in Philadelphia for the past 25 years, he has worked with athletes of all ages and skill levels, from youth sports through the Olympic and professional ranks. Dr. Fish wrote a book “101 Ways To Be a Terrific Sports Parent”, and over the past decade has written articles on various sports psychology issues for the Main Line Times & Suburban, and Main Line Media News. In this article, Dr. Fish (a father of three) talks about several issues relating to sports parenting.

Q: Should a parent encourage their child to play as many sports as possible?

A: As a parent, I can say the youth sports landscape is so much different than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. One thing I think parents need to do first is examine their own attitudes about winning, losing, failure, success and competition and not try to project their own feelings, and their own youth sports career experiences, onto their kids. While the vast majority of parents are well-intentioned, they really need to keep their antennae up regarding their child’s feelings, and know the personality of their child. You can’t paint all kids with a broad brush.

Q: Can you elaborate on this?

A: While some kids are really into one sport, thrive on playing one sport, and can’t get enough of playing that sport, other kids in that age 8-18 bracket might be physically ready but not emotionally ready for the expectations that develop from focusing on one sport. For example, it’s important to notice personality changes in your child that may indicate stress. . Also, if a child is normally outgoing but becomes withdrawn before a big competition; if your child complains about not feeling well even though there’s nothing physically wrong with them; excess stress manifests itself in a lot of different ways.

While I wouldn’t advocate either the side of focusing on just one sport, or playing multiple sports, there is a lot of evidence in various studies over the years that show the benefits of playing multiple sports – in gaining the coordination necessary in different sports; socially, meeting people on different teams; and in terms of enthusiasm – burnout is not as much of an issue when you’re playing multiple sports.

Q: You’ve emphasized that sports is a great place to learn life skills – goal-setting, dealing with frustration, working for a common goal with others, learning that you can’t always get what you want, developing thicker skin, developing coping skills, and learning to work on what you can control. One control issue is the coach-player relationship. What is the parent’s role in a coach-player conflict regarding such things as playing time and other issues?

A: It somewhat depends on the age level of the child. At age 8-12, the parent has a right to advocate for the child, but it’s really helpful for the parent to get a second opinion regarding, say, how the coach is talking to his or her child. Sometimes, it’s hard for a parent to be objective.

It’s important for the parent to pick the right time to talk to the coach, and to do it from a place of clarification rather than anger – not to get in the coach’s face right after the game. It’s like talking to your child’s teacher – you don’t barge in demanding answers.

If your child is high school age, then it’s more about teaching the child how to communicate with the coach. This involves some role-playing, asking your child, “How are you going to talk to the coach?”

For more information, contact Dr. Fish at 215-735-6280, centerforsportpsychology@gmail.com, or follow The Center For Sport Psychology on Facebook.

State champ Harriton well represented on All-Central tennis team

The Harriton girls tennis team claimed the PIAA Class 3A team tennis title without dropping a match in districts or states. The Rams added the PIAA Class 3A doubles title via Sophia Sasolli and Saige Roshkoff.

It’s no surprise then that the Rams headline the All-Central tennis teams, as voted by league coaches.

Sasolli and Roshkoff land on the first singles team, with the doubles tandem of Connie Richards and Mackenzie Sherman representing the Rams on the first doubles team.

Radnor’s Kanon Cairrocchi is a first-team singles player; she teamed up with Lucy Hederick (second team singles) to make the PIAA Class 3A doubles tournament. A pair of Radnor doubles squads – Annie Burton and Caroline Egg-Krings, and Grace Frigerio and Jessica Gusdorff —earned spots on the first team.

Below are the lists of singles and doubles teams.

Note: All-Central teams are selected by league coaches. The Daily Times and papreplive.com has no influence in the process.


First Team

Sophia Sasolli, Harriton
Saige Roshkoff, Harriton
Kanon Ciarrocchi, Radnor
Cassidy Landau, Conestoga
Cecilia Angert-Denis, Lower Merion

Second Team

Nina Hoog, Harriton
Priya Aravindhan, Conestoga
Lucy Hederick, Radnor
Megan Kidd, Strath Haven
Ananya Krishnan, Conestoga

Honorable Mention

Jaden Law, Garnet Valley; Jenna Mancuso, Lower Merion; Bridget Dougherty, Radnor; Elizabeth Fyfe, Penncrest; Eva Fay, Marple Newtown; Olivia Vearling, Springfield; Christina O’Halloran, Haverford


First Team

Olivia Dodge-Leena Kwok, Conestoga
Connie Richards-Mackenzie Sherman, Harriton
Annie Burton/Caroline Egg-Krings, Radnor
Katja Law-Victoria Husain, Garnet Valley
Grace Frigerio-Jessica Gusdorff, Radnor

Second Team

Melissa Dash-Sofia Himmel, Lower Merion
Lena Graziani-Elizabeth DeSilva, Strath Haven
Roshni Parikh-Lauren Binnion, Harriton
Priya Ganesh-Julia Grossinger, Radnor
Shaina Ginsberg-Erika Lutz, Harriton

Honorable Mention

Taylor Dath-Saige Thammavong, Ridley; Karen Ung-Paula Gongar, Upper Darby

Four Fords headline All-Central field hockey squad

The nexus of Central League field hockey power in 2018 was undoubtedly on the Main Line. Haverford and Conestoga both garnered top-7 seeds in the District 1 Class 3A tournament, while Radnor entered the Class 2A tournament as the top seed.

In a nod to that team success, those schools monopolized eight of 11 spots on the All-Central team, as voted by league coaches.

Haverford placed four on the first team, a just reward for a 16-2-1 season. Sydney Corcoran, Carly Gannon, Megan Phillips and goalie Mary Grace DePlato are all on the first team. Radnor’s Olivia DeCain and Page Lowry garnered first-team nods, as did Conestoga’s Charlotte de Vries and Carly Hynd. Garnet Valley’s Tina Rawa and Lauren Weaver also landed on the first team.

The full list of honorees is below.

Note: All-Central teams are selected by league coaches. The Daily Times and papreplive.com has no influence in the process.

First Team

Sydney Corcoran, Haverford
Olivia DeCain, Radnor
Charlotte De Vries, Conestoga
Carly Gannon, Haverford
Carly Hynd, Conestoga
Page Lowry, Radnor
Ashton Odiorne, Harriton
Megan Phillips, Haverford
Tina Rawa, Garnet Valley
Lauren Weaver, Garnet Valley
Mary Grace DePlato, Haverford

Second Team

Ava Abatangelo, Marple Newtown
Gillian Brennan, Strath Haven
Kylie Gioia, Marple Newtown
Margaret Howe-Consiglio, Penncrest
Kelsey Knapp, Haverford
Bridgid Lowry, Radnor
Meghan Lynch, Ridley
Abby Race, Penncrest
Caroline O’Brien, Conestoga
Arden Turner, Springfield
Claire Wolfe, Garnet Valley
Anna Lemaster, Marple Newtown

Honorable Mention

Conestoga: Maia Dechario, Sarah Rogalski
Garnet Valley: Kendall DiCamillo, Megan Finnegan, Simi Kolodka
Harriton: Kat Berberian, Grace Dwyer, Lucy Dwyer
Haverford: Ellie Kent
Lower Merion: Emma Noel, Milli Vera
Marple Newtown: Morgan Battista
Penncrest: Sadie King
Radnor: Barbara Civitella, Genevive Mehra, Phoebe Proctor
Ridley: Mary Kate Cowan, Megan Frame, Julia Meeley
Springfield: Bianca Caceci, Eliza Donaldson, Sarah Lofland, Dana Mirigliano
Strath Haven: Tess Bailey, Ashley Hassell, Sarah McAndrews
Upper Darby: Maria Ngam, Marie Smith, Sara Sullivan

Springside-Chestnut Hill repeats as PAISAA champions, 3-1 over Hill School

Stuck in the mud, the lights turned out, three crossbars rattled and nothing to show for it.

The Springside-Chestnut Hill boys soccer team could have just decided it wasn’t their night – and in all those ways it wasn’t.

But that turned entirely when SCH got its breakthrough with 18 minutes to play from senior Peter Kapp and the Hillers streamrolled from there as defending champion Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy defeated Hill School 3-1 in the Pa. Independent Schools Athletic Association championship Wednesday night at Immaculata University’s Draper Walsh Stadium.

Senior midfield standout Phil Burckhardt scored twice – he also scored two goals in last year’s title game, a 2-0 SCH win over Hill – while Kapp gave SCH the long-sought leveler after Hill School freshman Noah Toole put the Blues on top in the first half.

As the front-running teams of the PAISAA tournament over the last two years, an unexpected rivalry has formed between SCHA and Hill.

“Last year, Hill beat us in the regular season so they had an edge on us. This year we beat them in the regular season so it’s been back and forth,” Burckhardt said, “but at this point for me and the seniors, this being my final game … I love these guys and we’ve been through a lot. But we’ve been on a roll here lately and finally beating Hill again is an amazing feeling.”

Hill School (13-8) settled for silver for the second straight year while maintaining its run of reaching the final in all but one year of the PAISAA’s existence – champions in 2013, 2014 and 2016; finalists in 2011, 2012 and 2017. Hill entered riding an eight-game win streak that featured a perfect run in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League, the Blues’ first league trophy since 2013.

“It was a tough time for us to not play one of our better matches, but considering we were (3-6) to come out of that and rattle off as many straight as we did, we hoped we had one more half in us,” Hill School head coach Chris Drowne said. “Unfortunately we come up one half short.

“Everybody says that you have to appreciate the journey. A lot of people that just consider it a birthright to be in the final four of this tournament, or the final match, don’t appreciate how much work it takes or how many quality teams there are in this draw that you have to go through.”

Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy’s Sean Stackhouse battles Hill School’s (15)Chance Antonio for the ball in the first half of the Pa. Independent Schools Championship at Immaculata University Wednesday evening.

The day seemed like it was adding up bits of adversity for the Hillers: their team bus got stuck in the mud on the way to Immaculata. A chance-filled first half was only broken up by a power outage of the stadium lights in the 18th minute. Once back on after a 15-minute delay, both teams were on their games, junior forward Zach Barrett and senior midfielder Hale Lombard leading the Blues’ charge while seniors Dane Harmaty, Luke Greenberg and Burckhardt led the Hillers’ thrust.

Greenberg hit the crossbar shortly after the restart and was frantically cleared by Hill, which led to a counterattack that saw freshman substitute Toole carry down the right side and go near post for the 1-0 advantage.

Barrett was inches from making it 2-0 when Lombard played him behind the defense but his shot on the breakaway hit the left post.

“The first half and right through halftime I thought we did a great job in all three thirds of the field,” Hill coach Chris Drowne said. “We created some chances but didn’t finish enough of them and when you leave a team that is that dangerous in the match, they are going to break through. They deserved the breakthrough.”

Hill School’s (4) Zach Barrett tries to thread the Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy defense in the first half of the Pa. Independent Schools Championship at Immaculata University Wednesday evening.

Hill’s senior center back pair Euan Forrest and Aidan Sullivan were strong throughout, but as the game wore on, the Hillers were stronger – provided the goal frame would finally cooperate.

“I kept on looking at the clock and the time kept ticking on down,” said Burckhardt, who will play at Drexel next year. “But then when we got the first one, it was an amazing feeling especially when my fellow senior and one of the best friends gets it. I knew with the crowd going wild that at that point we were gonna get another and finish it for sure.”

Once Kapp got SCH on level terms, the Hillers were on fire. Burckhardt missed a great chance with 13 to play, but made good minutes later on the follow of a left-footed shot from Harmaty, who got himself some space with a beautiful Cruyff turn on the edge of the penalty area.

SCH sealed it on a give-and-go counterattack breakaway between Burckhardt and Scott Bandura to put the game to bed.

The celebration was on for the Hillers and their large student section and capped a 16-4-1 season. The SCH senior class included Burckhardt, Harmaty, Kapp, Greenberg, goalkeepers Owen Elliott (2 saves), Kieron Cook (1 save) and Nate McDowell, Patrick McHugh, Nick Dolente and Jack Myers.

Hill graduates an accomplished senior class that featured center backs Euan Forrest and Aidan Sullivan, plus Chance Antonio, Alberto Fernandez, Hale Lombard and Aiden Woolley.

“It’s the smallest senior class we’ve had in my time as coach, but certainly impactful in terms of how they led every single day and the final results they knew they wanted to post, how hard they worked to make sure everybody appreciated the level it takes to do so,” Drowne said.

Notes >> Hill goalkeeper Alan Kim had five saves. SCH led in shots on goal 8-4 and total shots 21-14. … Hill’s path to the title game featured wins over Friends Central (1-0 on Oct. 31), Penn Charter (3-0 on Nov. 6) and Mercersburg Academy (2-0 on Nov. 8) in the semifinals. … Springside-Chestnut Hill, the No. 3 seed, bested Germantown Academy (1-0 on Nov. 2), Malvern Prep (3-0 on Nov. 6) and Kiski Prep (1-0 on Nov. 8) to position itself for a PAISAA repeat.

Loughead’s PK sends resilient Episcopal to PAISAA title

EAST WHITELAND — Episcopal Academy senior Maddie Loughead took the slow walk at Immaculata’s Draper Walsh Stadium Wednesday night with a bandaged leg, a clear mind and fresh eyes.

The outside back sported a slight limp — “I tore my quad in the summer,” Loughead off-handedly explained. But with the gait of a hobbled gunslinger blowing into a frontier town, Loughead knew she had a job to do in the fifth round of the shootout.

Episcopal Academy’s Maddie Loughead celebrates after converting her penalty kick in the shootout to earn EA a 4-3 win over Baldwin in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association final at Immaculata University Wednesday. The match finished 3-3 after extra time. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

“I really just tried to breathe as much as I could and not think about it,” Loughead said. “I practiced my PKs, so I just said, ‘do what you know how to do and don’t overthink it.’”

Loughead’s penalty kick settled a classic Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association final, Episcopal topping Baldwin, 4-3, in spot kicks after a scintillating affair finished 3-3.

The shootout contained enough drama to sustain many a recap, let alone the run of play that supplied two goals each from Baldwin’s Gia Vicari and EA’s Olivia Dirks.

Allie Bush was the hero of the shootout, though. The sophomore EA goalkeeper started it inauspiciously, with Vicari scoring and Bush getting a piece of Lauren Bracken’s kick but the ball sputtering over the line. When Lauren Cunningham sent her effort wide in the third round, EA stared at a 3-2 deficit.

“I said, ‘you’re fine, shake it off. Allie will get it for you,’” Loughead said of the conversation with her fellow defender. “And there she came with two big saves.”

Bush picked her teammate up, even though her opposite number, Simi Bleznak, stole the goalkeeping show in regulation. Bush stood tall in the fourth round, denying a Relly Ladner kick and allowing Dirks to even it up with enough pace for the effort to power past the touch of a Bleznak glove.

Next stepped midfielder Alex Loomis, and Bush read it correctly, diving to her right, so spot-on that she bodied the ball away with her legs.

“My strategy is usually guessing,” Bush said. “For this one, I saw their eyes. They were staring at the spot they were going to take the PK, so I just followed their eyes.”

“As a sophomore, she’s just stepped up so much this year,” Dirks said of Bush. “She acts older than she is, which is great. And she’s really loud in the back, so I knew when PKs came, she would be ready.”

That left Loughead as the 10th and final shooter to bash her kick into the side netting to Bleznak’s left.

All that drama transpired once the clock had stopped running. The 90 minutes were no slouch, either.

Episcopal took the advantage seven minutes in when Dirks scored, though the play was made by Anna Salvucci trapping a long free kick by Cunningham and playing Dirks through the lines.

Baldwin notched the next two tallies on a night when they scored off three set pieces. Bush charged off her line but could only flap at a corner kick in the 29th that fell onto the head of Vivienne Evans to nod home on the doorstep.

Episcopal Academy goalie Allie Bush makes a save on Baldwin’s Alex Loomis in the fifth round of penalty kicks in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association Championship at Immaculata University Wednesday evening. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Baldwin surged ahead three minutes past halftime. After three straight EA corner kicks, Vicari embarked on an end-to-end counter with Ladner and burst through the backline, leaving Ali McHugh no recourse but to chop her down from behind for a penalty kick and a yellow. Vicari slotted home the PK, giving Baldwin a 2-1 lead and opening the floodgates of chaos.

Dirks wouldn’t let the deficit stand, evening the score within two minutes. Her free kick from 24 yards out took a nick off the wall, but it sailed into the net. EA nudged ahead in the 54th, Salvucci taking two immaculate touches in the box to control a driven cross from Dirks and volleying home. That Salvucci and Dirks, the pair of high-scoring seniors, had their hands in each goal seems fitting in their final games.

“That’s how it usually happens,” Dirks said. “Whenever I score, she’ll assist me and whenever she scores, I assist her. She’s an awesome player, and I’ve been so lucky to play with her these past four years.”

A comfortable result wasn’t in the cards, thanks to Vicari, who skittered a free kick from 22 yards under the wall and into the far bottom corner in the 72nd, a worm-burner with purpose to knot it at 3.

As if that wasn’t enough, Episcopal got not one but three chances to win it in the final 30 seconds. But Bleznak produced fantastic saves rapid-fire, getting a hand to a Salvucci shot, her body in front of Salvucci’s follow while off her line and then retreating to nudge Bella Piselli’s effort wide.

“Just kind of do anything I can to keep the ball out of the net and get us to overtime,” Bleznak said. “There was only a few seconds left so I knew that if I made those saves, we would be headed into overtime and that’s where at that point we wanted to be.”

So on the back of all that, how exactly does one regain their composure for the extra session?

“We knew we had to do whatever it took to keep pushing and even if we were tired, just give a little more and keep pushing our way through,” Dirks said. “We came out every single time with a ton of intensity and energy, and we all were just so hyped to keep going.”

“You just have to stay focused on the game,” Bleznak said. “There’s a lot going on, but staying focused on what’s happening on the field and playing together and playing for each other.”

EA controlled overtime, Dirks flashing a sharp-angle shot wide, Cunningham lofting a free kick from 28 yards just over the bar and Bleznak making the only save, her seventh.

That set the stage for PKs. Among the thoughts that Loughead banished on the walk up were the past near-misses — the loss in last year’s final to Springside Chestnut Hill, the setback incurred as freshmen in the final to Germantown Academy, one that Loughead watched with a broken ankle.

There would be no repeating that anguish, she made sure.

“When we were freshmen, we wanted to win so badly for the seniors,” she said. “And seeing them lose the championship game freshman year kind of took it to heart, and we’ve been kind of with that since then. We made it to the semis sophomore year and last year we were in the finals again, so it was kind of like our time to finish what we started.”

Coaching cohesion inspires Radnor’s history-making season

CHAMBERSBURG — Joe Caruolo has led a Radnor to a state final before, though with a twist.

Back in 2004, Caruolo was an assistant coach as the Raiders made it to Hershey, outlasting District 7’s South Park for the PIAA Class 2A title. The head coach then was Kyle Shilcock-Elliott, coaching his younger brother Keith, the youngest of three brothers named All-Delco.

Fourteen years later, Shilcock-Elliott long ago stepped aside from the day-to-day duties but stayed on to assist Caruolo, who after a stint coaching the Radnor girls team is the man in charge.

The fluidity of those dynamics speaks volumes about the community aspect that Radnor prizes. It also says a lot about how Shilcock-Elliott and Caruolo — contemporaries in school, All-Delcos at Radnor and Archbishop Carroll, respectively, who graduated in 1998 — work in unison.

“We recognize, understand and appreciate how much history means to us, both Kyle and I,” Caruolo said Tuesday, after his team beat Seneca Valley, 3-0, to advance to Saturday’s PIAA Class 4A final. “And we complement each other perfectly, so even when those roles are reversed, they’re not really, because we’re the same kinds of personalities that we were in ’04. To have the complement is huge. We really value and take great pride in the history of Radnor soccer.”

Radnor’s states berth will be the third in program history. It lost the Class AAA final to Fleetwood in 1980, led by legendary coach Bob Siemons. He was followed for another 14 years under Sam Holt, who mentored numerous All-Delcos (including the elder Shilcock-Elliott) and solidified Radnor’s standing among the area’s premier programs until he stepped down in 1998. The long-standing professional bond between Caruolo and Shilcock-Elliott, plus a rotating cast of assistants with experience in the community, is an extension of that continuity.

It’s no surprise, then, that Caruolo expressed his gratitude for that history that Holt preserved, for being able to step into the locker room at Chambersburg and tell his players that their accomplishment made them one of the best teams in a long line stretching back decades.

“To be a part of history and make your own history, that’s kind of what differentiates us from a lot of programs,” Caruolo said. “… It allows you to play for something special, to be part of that history.”

“This team has been a great group,” center back Bennett Mueller said. “We’ve all gotten along well together. (Caruolo and Shilcock-Elliott) have experience going through state playoffs in 2004, so they’ve definitely been there before and can help coach us to do the best we can.”

That level of engagement is necessary in an area like Radnor, a fertile recruiting ground for a plethora of private schools. And it’s helped inform the Raiders’ journey. Radnor (20-3-2) finished fourth in the Central League and earned the No. 7 seed in the District 1 tournament, requiring two away wins in playbacks to get to states as the district’s fifth and final entrant.

On the way to Hershey, they’ve topped the champions of District 3 (Cumberland Valley, 3-2), District 6 (State College, 2-1) and District 7 (Seneca Valley).

You can draw a straight line from the coaching staff to the cohesion it breeds on the field. A staff that has bonded over the years begets a team that grows together, that has coalesced from the youth ranks up, with an eye toward being a part of the varsity’s hallowed history.

The result for this Radnor team is a lineup with tremendous versatility. Even as injuries have limited a couple of players (namely first team All-Central midfielder Bobby Kirsch), they’ve continued on adapting roles.

The contrast was starkest on the outside Tuesday night. Seneca Valley rotated its outside backs at regular intervals. Radnor’s Josh Savadove and Ben Verbofsky, who’ve taken turns in midfield this year before owning the outside-back jobs, didn’t leave the field until Savadove was subbed off with a minute to play to a great ovation from the bench. Radnor’s first two goals resulted from players — first Bobby Hydrisko, then Jackson Birtwistle on Ben Engstrom’s goal — winning individual battles against those outside backs, gaining the inch that Savadove and Verbofsky never gave.

They’re part of a cohesive back four, with Mueller and Evan Majercak in the middle, that has allowed just three goals in its last five playoff games, with one more big one to go on the journey.

“It’s just all kind of mixed around,” Mueller said. “We try to find the best guys for certain spots. Having a nice solid unit has been great. We feel like we work really well together.”

19 Pennridge seniors honored for college commitments

EAST ROCKHILL >> Logan Sudholz began rowing just a year ago and with every oar put in the water since then, the Pennridge senior has been working towards one goal.

“My parents signed me up for a summer camp of rowing,” Sudholz said. “And what was one week turned into two and then three and I was like ‘What does it take to go Division I?’ And I chased it every since.”

Sudholz’s hard work in her new-found sport has her heading to Florida next fall to attend the University of Miami and join the Hurricanes women’s crew team.

“I always thought Miami sparked my interest even before I started rowing,” she said. “They’re a great school academically and they have a great culture and everything and it seemed to fit.”

Wednesday afternoon, Sudholz was of the 19 student-athletes in a variety of sports gathered in the Pennridge High School’s library as the school honored the group for their college commitments.

Sisters, Abby and Molly Groff sign letters of intent to play soccer at Bloomsburg University on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“It’s unreal and people ask me that all the time how did you do this in a year and everything,” Sudholz said. “It seemed like this sport it was like if I wanted this, if I wanted to go D-I I could get it. And it just had endless opportunity and I just went for it.”

The Rams girls soccer team, which Tuesday night earned a spot in Saturday’s PIAA Class 4A championship game against Souderton, had six members of the squad honored for signing their National Letters of Intent — Ashley Groeber to Saint Joseph’s University, goalkeeper Mary Kate Levush to Virginia’s Longwood University, Nicolette Harrison to West Chester University, Sarah Williams to Dickinson College and both Abby Groff and Molly Groff to Bloomsburg University.

“I was just think it’s a lot of exciting things coming up with Hershey this weekend and signing,” Harrison said. “It’s a lot but it’s exciting.”

Harrison, who is looking towards a future in graphic design, said WCU appealed to her due to the Golden Rams strong women’s soccer program and also good word of mouth.

“I’ve heard about it a lot from my sister’s friends and people who have graduated here,” Harrison said. “It’s in a great location, it’s near Philly, it’s an hour from home and even the town around it, it’s just all-around a great school, a good fit for me.”

Choosing a PSAC school also means Harrison gets to compete again current teammates Abby and Molly Groff at Bloomsburg and her sister, Savanna, who attends Kutztown University.

“When I first committed it was like ‘Congratulations, see you on the field,’” Harrison said. “And even my sister, she goes to Kutztown and she plays in the middle so we’ll play each other and that’s like the fun part. You still can be in contact with the same girls you went to high school with and play against them when you played with them.”

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media Pennridge senior Ashley Groeber signs letter of intent to play soccer at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Kouri Peace made it seven Pennridge athletes heading to play women’s college soccer a she signed with the University of Florida. Peace, who plays for Penn Fusion Soccer Academy’s Development Academy team, opted for the SEC program over a number of other Division I schools — Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Tennessee — after liking the Gators’ family atmosphere after a trip to Gainesville.

“When I went on my official visit in September and I got to spend time with the team and the coaches in their element cause it was during their season. I really saw that they were family-oriented so everyone was really close, it just felt like they were a big family,” said Peace, who has her eye on a future in the medical field. “And I knew, since I’d be going so far from home, I would want something to kind of not replace it but give me a little bit of family. So that was really big for me.”

The Rams field hockey team had a trio of signees with Sydney Borneman and Caitlyn Amsden both signing with the Temple while goalkeeper Mackenzie Bross will be attending Susquehanna University. Borneman was a 2018 SOL Continental Conference first team pick with both Amsden and Bross named to the second team.

The Pennridge baseball and softball teams each had a pair of commits. For baseball, Jimmy Petrik —an all-conference honorable mention at pitcher last season — is heading to Millersville University with Hayden Maltby choosing Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Rams softball’s Makenna Patterson and Kiley Watson — a 2018 All-SOL Continental honorable mention at shortstop — are both staying in the area, with Patterson selecting to attend Holy Family University and Watson signing with West Chester.

Logan Lazasz and Jenna Lund both will play lacrosse in college with Lazasz — an All-SOL National Conference second-team pick as a junior — signing with the High Point University men’s program and Lund set to attend IUP and play for the Crimson Hawks’ women’s side.

Both Sean Yoder and Matt Eissler will compete on the Division I level with Yoder heading to Navy to play basketball while Eissler goes to Penn for track.

“Originally (Penn) wasn’t really in the list of schools that I was looking at until I would say around mid to late September,” said Eissler, who last season was third in the 800 at District 1 and ran on the Rams’ second-place 4×800 relay at states. “They finally reached out again, we had brief contact earlier that summer. Then they reached out and the coach, Coach (Steve) Dolan he offered me, he just said check it out, check out Penn, go down on an unofficial visit so I did and I just really liked it.”

Pennridge senior Sean Yoder signs his letter of intent to play basketball for Navy on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Yoder, a two-time SOL Continental first-team selection, ultimately opted with Navy and playing in the Patriot League over Vermont and Colgate.

“I think the Naval Academy really presented me a very unique opportunity, that’s really what it came down to,” he said. “I can play basketball at a pretty high level. I can serve this country and get a very prestigious education as well.”

Yoder follows the same Pennridge-to-Annapolis path as Tim Abruzzo, who finished his high school career in 2012 as Pennridge’s all-time leading scorer and currently sits second on the list.

“I’ve talked to him over the phone, text, whatever, cause he’s actually serving now,” Yoder said. “Just kind of hearing his experience was big. But definitely I talked to him, I’m close with him, so I’m sure we’ll stay in contact as I go through this experience.”