Wissahickon blanks Pennridge, wins 2-0

LOWER GWYNEDD — In the midst of a team’s conference schedule, the last complication of the psyche in a soccer program is a game against a non-league opponent.

But, so is the playoff points system and the importance of winning as many games as possible to qualify for district playoffs, teams will sometimes play in stretches of matches on back-to-back days to make a case for the postseason.

On Wednesday, a windy and cloudy autumn day, the Suburban One League American’s Wissahickon boys soccer team bested Continental’s Pennridge 2-0.

Just the afternoon prior, the two teams found themselves clashing with conference opponents as the Trojans got past Springfield (Montco) 4-1, while the Rams fell to Central Bucks East 3-2.

Wissahickon (9-2-0, 6-2-0 SOL American) was the more fleet of foot team at home, where Pennridge (1-6-3, 1-5-2 SOL Continental) might have suffered from the fatigue of a tough loss at night and travelling to Wissahickon for afternoon game.

Pennridge started the game with the first scoring opportunity when a shot just from Justin Musco at the three-minute mark found the gut of Trojan goalkeeper John Carrozza.

In the ensuing minutes the Trojans managed to control the possession of play, keeping the ball away from the Rams and swinging the ball from sideline to sideline.

Wissahickon found its best scoring chance in the 14th minute, and Cole Kropnick didn’t take it for granted.

After being awarded a corner to the left of the Pennridge frame, defender Shane Fallen delivered a curling ball that was redirected by a Ram defender and into the path of Kropnick, who made no mistake about it.

Using his off-foot Kropnick put a charge into a low ball with his left that beat Pennridge goalie Brody Giblin, and the Trojans were in business.

In the 23rd minute it was the Rams who had a golden opportunity at an equalizer when Lucas Hefner crossed the ball to a wide open Austin Patrick at the far post.

Patrick got enough pace on a header to make things interesting for Carrozza, but the defender only managed to send the ball downward into the waiting hands of the goalie.

The Rams continued to push for the evasive tying goal just moments later and almost knotted up the score 26 minutes in, but Jeremy Baum sailed a kick up and over the bar off Musco’s throw-in. The Trojans would hold a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

In the second half, Wissahickon wasted no time getting on the scoreboard once again as defender Ryan Becker capped off a spectacular individual effort.

Becker, who was moved to a forward position from his usual defensive quarters, collected a clearance on a Pennridge corner and let his feet do the rest. Beginning about 60 yards out, he sprinted towards the goal with two defenders on his trail and weaved in and out of traffic.

After dibbling more than half the length of the field, he calmly deposited the ball into the bottom left corner for his second goal in as many days and his team was up 2-0 in the 45th minute.

“Coach just switched me up top to play more offensive,’ Becker said the position change. “My teammates are playing the ball up to me and I’m just trying to make the best out of the situation.

“I was heading for goal the whole time, trying to get there any way I could.’

Pennridge continued to push, hoping for at least a consolation goal, but Wissahickon denied its opponent in a season that has fallen short of the Rams’ expectations.

“We had a tough game last night against Central Bucks East where we went back and forth and ended up losing … and I don’t think our heads were in it today,’ Pennridge coach Pete Valimont said. “Our season has been tough, especially in the first part, getting the ball in the back of net. That’s just kind of how our season has been going.

“We’ve been playing teams that those goals have been going in for them, and for us we’ve just been hitting them wide and we’re one or two steps behind.’

As for Wissahickon, the wins keep on piling up as the Trojans continue to eye the American Conference’s top spot held by Plymouth Whitemarsh, and of course, a berth into the postseason.

“(Pennridge) came in here trying to knock us off and trying to give themselves a playoff opportunity, so we had to be wary,’ Wissahickon coach Stuart Malcolm said. “They were unfortunate with the couple chances they had … but when we’re getting into tough games we can look to lock teams down when we have the lead.’


Wissahickon had 14 shots, with Pennridge recording six … Giblin made 11 saves in net for the Rams, Carrozza had five.

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