ROYERSFORD >> Gabby Kane looked up and knew exactly what to do.
Locked in a scoreless game in the second half with Boyertown Tuesday night, the Spring-Ford senior midfielder won the ball off a Bears defender and carried the ball toward the penalty area.
The Rams may be going through a stretch where the missed connections in front of goal are adding up, but this was not one of them.
Kane played a perfectly-weighted pass down the left into the running path of Kelly Franz after the senior forward split the Bears’ center backs and took a pretty left-footed shot across the face of goal to give Spring-Ford the only goal it would need in a 1-0 defeat of Boyertown at Coach McNelly Stadium.
“I knew she was going to pass it,” Franz said. “I saw her look up and knew that she saw the split in the defenders and I got excited.”
“We have that connection,” said Kane, the reigning Mercury All-Area Player of the Year. “I feel like she’s always making runs and I know where she’s going to go.”
It was exactly the moment the Rams needed as they push to the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. Spring-Ford retained first place in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division at 9-0 (13-1-1 overall) and faces a crucial game Thursday against Owen J. Roberts (8-1, 15-1) that will decide the division championship.
“It’s been nerve-wracking because we have two really big games this week (Boyertown and OJR) so we know that we have to do everything to prepare for playoffs. Both of these teams are really good and we think it will help us prepare,” Franz said.
Despite the setback, Boyertown (4-5 Liberty, 7-5 PAC, 8-8 overall) remains in position to earn the PAC’s second wild-card place for next week’s league playoffs, thanks in part to Methacton’s 3-0 defeat to OJR Tuesday.
It was another hamster-in-the-wheel kind of game for the Bears, who have been putting in a worthy effort against the top teams but have been unable to generate the necessary scoring chances despite the best efforts of seniors Kaleigh Gallagher and Corinne Renninger. They managed only three shots on a goal, all saved by Rams’ keeper Carly Lare.
Spring-Ford managed six shots (Boyertown goalie Mattie Gallagher had five saves), led in corners 5-2, and looked the more likely team to score throughout.
Nevertheless, Spring-Ford has been feeling similarly after finding the net only five times in their past four games. Fortunately for the Rams, the haven’t allowed a goal in three games thanks to outside backs Molly McHarg and KK O’Donnell and center backs Claire Sites and Brooke Ritchie.
Up top, the Rams and their deep rotation of forwards that work around midfield mainstays Kane and Laura Fazzini are finding their way.
“I think we’re doing a pretty good job,” Kane said. “Our biggest flaw right now is finishing. We’re getting there, we’re getting the shots off we’re just not finding the back of the net. But we’re working together, being positive on the field and we have a very deep bench so whoever goes in, they can make a difference.”
NOTES >> Spring-Ford is ranked No. 3 in the District 1-AAAA power rankings, trailing only Conestoga (11-2-1) and Pennridge (9-2-2) while Tuesday’s foe OJR (15-1) is No. 4. Boyertown is No. 25 – the top 24 earn qualification – and must take care of business in their regular-season against winless Norristown on Thursday while looking for some help around the district.
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