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Doughty does it again as Souderton tops Pennridge in OT for PIAA 4A title

Souderton celebrates its PIAA Class 4A championship after the Indians defeated Pennridge 1-0 in overtime in the state final on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)
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HERSHEY >> Averie Doughty’s had one incredible week.

The Souderton sophomore forward scored the last four goals of the season for her team, all in the span of three state playoff games. All were vital, but each one was also more important that the last. So, it stands to reason that none were more important that the goal she scored Saturday night.

Doughty’s overtime tally lifted the Indians to a 1-0 win over rival Pennridge in the PIAA 4A girls’ soccer state title match at HersheyPark Stadium, ending a dream season for the Indians and sending the Rams home heartbroken.

“We haven’t beaten them in a really long time, so this feels really nice,” Doughty said minutes after the goal, a state medal draped around her neck. “I don’t even know what happened. The ball came to me and I just kind of hit it. The goalie was down, it kind of curved, hit the post and went in.”

Last Saturday, Doughty scored a second half-equalizer then hit the shootout winning spot kick to send Souderton past Seneca Valley. On Tuesday in the semifinals, she scored with 11 seconds left to tie the game, then buried the game-winner in overtime to send Peters Township home.

After spending much of Saturday’s title match isolated along with the rest of the forward unit, Doughty came up clutch once again as the Indians (17-3-6) beat Pennridge for the first time since the 2015 season. Pennridge (21-4-1) dominated regulation, but another valiant effort by Souderton’s defensive unit ensured that for the second straight game, the two sides would play extra.

Late in the second half, Souderton had Dougthy swap out of the middle of the field and over to the left flank.

“We talked about hitting Averie a lot on the left and sending the ball that way,” Indians coach Lindsy Jones said. “It was a problem we’d been having and having kind of consistently this season of connecting the midfield with our top three. We kept pushing forward and I believe in the overtime, they were working harder than we’d seen the whole game.”

Souderton’s Sara Readinger, Miranda Kullman, Katilee Harwick and Campbell Power take a bite out of their gold medal after the Indians defeated Pennridge 1-0 in overtime in the PIAA Class 4A final on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)

Pennridge had an early chance when senior Abby Groff rang the crossbar six minutes in. The first 15 minutes really belonged to the Rams as Groff kept working for a chance, only to have one shot blocked, another go wide and a third well-saved by the Indians’ Lindsey Pazdziorko at the post.

Souderton’s first shot on goal didn’t come until there was 11:58 left in the first half and the number of chances the Indians had during the 80 minutes of regulation were limited. But that’s not been uncommon for Souderton all season and they’ve been able to fall back on the constant that is their defensive unit.

Pazdziorko said it’s the unit’s connection and ability to know what’s going on at every moment that’s fueled their level of play.

“When one girl went down (injured), we all reconvened and talked to each other,” Pazdziorko said. “We said ‘we know what we have to do, we’re not doing it right now and let’s fix it. Let’s make this our game.’ After that we started possessing better and really bringing it home.”

Pennridge kept knocking in the second half, but Pazdziorko was able to handle everything sent her way, making seven saves. Her best stop came with about 10 minutes left in the second half, after a nice build-up by Pennridge between Holly Harbeck, Groff and Ashley Groeber that had Groeber send one in only for Pazdziorko to hop up and grab it mid-air.

Once the game got to overtime, the Indians put a little turbo charge into their intensity. Erin O’Keefe put a shot on goal almost off the opening tap of extra time and suddenly an Indians offense that had been quiet for most of the game was suddenly roaring.

“Everybody wanted to end the game as quickly as possible so I think there were a lot of direct balls being played which isn’t our style,” Rams coach Audrey Anderson said. “We have a lot of speed so we try and use it. I honestly don’t know what it came down to, we played such good soccer for the better part of the game and it’s a shame we couldn’t put that one chance away.”

Souderton celebrates its 1-0 overtime victory over Pennridge in the PIAA Class 4A final on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)

Souderton drew a foul with about nine minutes left , giving senior Campbell Power the opportunity to create a chance. Her free kick into the box would set off the eventual sequence leading to the goal.

“After the last few games, I know who’s going to get on the end of the ball, I know where to place it,” Power said. “With so many extra games playing together, I know where to get it in and I was just trying to get it to goal.”

The initial ball, played about 40 yards out, was headed away but Sara Readinger recovered and played it back to Darby Kramer for a second ball in. Tayloy Yoder flicked that ball down to Doughty who was able to weave it past the rushing keeper and the post and into the net.

“It really is,” Doughty said when asked if it was the best week of her life. “We knew we had to fight for it, we really wanted to beat them and win this game so we brought our all.”

Souderton’s Hannah Alderfer leaps over Pennridge’s Mary Kate Levush during the PIAA Class 4A final on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2018. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)

What started as a surreal day, one where Padziorko said she kept pinching herself and Power waited to wake up from the dream ended almost the same way.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet we won but it’s crazy, everyone worked as hard as they could,” Readinger said. “That we made it this far, I don’t know, I can’t put it into words.

“We know we can play any level of soccer. We can handle whatever is given to us, we came out energetic and excited but we handled it in a composed way.”

SOUDERTON 1, PENNRIDGE 0 (OT)
SOUDERTON 0 0  1 – 1
PENNRIDGE 0 0 0 – 0
Goals: S – Averie Doughty (Taylor Yoder).

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