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Second-half comeback lifts Spring-Ford over Boyertown

BOYERTOWN >> Playing from behind was not Spring-Ford’s strong suit coming into their PAC Liberty Division matchup at Boyertown.

That all changed Tuesday afternoon after the Rams rallied for three unanswered goals in the second half to defeat the Bears 3-2 in a game that had a big impact on both teams’ district playoff chances.

“We needed this game,” said Spring-Ford head coach Jennie Anderson. “We’ve lost a lot of close games recently where we’ve been down and haven’t been able to come back.”

With the win, the Rams moved to 5-4 in PAC divisional play and 7-10 overall. The Bears dropped to 2-7 and 8-7 overall. The Rams, ranked 22nd in the District 1 Class 3A power rankings, moved up to No. 21 with Boyertown right ahead at No. 20. The top 24 teams advance to the district playoffs.

Early in the game, the Rams’ offense was able to put some pressure on Boyertown goalie, Haley Gable, by forcing three corners and getting three shots on net, including one from Clare Kennedy which hit off the right post.

Surviving the initial push, the Bears were able to put together some offense of their own when Cassie Kidwell found a wide open Ashley Dierolf in front of the net to give Boyertown a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

Boyertown’s Asia Swenk (16) sends on upfield during Tuesday’s game against Spring-Ford. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

In the second half, the Bears were once again able to get on the board when a miscommunication by the Rams’ defense allowed Sydney Fox to get a wide open shot past goalie Ashley Della Guardia for the 2-0 lead.

The miscommunication led Anderson to call a timeout, which would prove to be a huge momentum change in favor of the Rams.

“That second goal we stopped playing (hard) and that’s why we called that timeout, just to reiterate what type of game this is,” said Anderson. “We just said ‘if we want to be in playoffs we have to win this game.’”

Less than two minutes later, the Rams recorded their first goal of the contest when Kate Crist found Kennedy across the middle of the net for a goal to cut the deficit to 2-1.

After more Rams’ pressure, a shot by Kaitlyn Hennessy was deflected by a Boyertown defender and right onto the stick of Sarah Cooper, who put it in the back of the net to tie it at two.

Spring-Ford’s Clare Kennedy (5) celebrates her goal with Kate Crist, who had the assist, during Tuesday’s game against Boyertown. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

With just under six minutes remaining in the game, the Rams finally got the game-winning goal they were looking for after a shot by Kennedy was turned away by Gable, leaving a perfect rebound opportunity for Alexa Habermehl who found the back of the cage.

The Bears would not go down without a fight as they induced two of their five corner opportunities in the final minute of the game, only to have a final attempt turned away by Della Guardia (three saves) with 15 seconds remaining.

“The only thing we did differently from when we had the lead to when we didn’t was we weren’t going first to the ball,” said Boyertown head coach Karen Kooker. “We waited to see what they did with the ball and then we reacted.”

The Bears will have another opportunity to solidify their spot in the playoffs when they visit the winless Norristown Eagles on Thursday.

“We definitely have to come ready to play, be first to the ball, make connections up and down the field and get that hunger back,” said Kooker.

The Rams will host Owen J. Roberts — which currently sits in sixth place in the District playoff standings — on Thursday.

“Today showed us that if we get down we are able to comeback so hopefully this gives us the confidence; that we can play with anyone,” said Anderson.

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