Methacton uses early burst to beat Pottsgrove, runs win streak to 10

LOWER POTTSGROVE — With the way things are going for the Methacton boys soccer team, a few chances go a long way.

Riding a nine-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup against Pottsgrove, the Warriors didn’t need double digits to reach double digits.

Methacton netted its first three shots on goal, including two from senior forward Justin Ardman, en route to a 3-1 victory over Pottsgrove in a meeting of Pioneer Athletic Conference division leaders.

The Warriors (8-1, 10-1) won their 10th straight game after grabbing a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to an Eric Kihle header on the far post on a cross from Connor Stevenson. Ardman made it two a few short minutes later on a header of his own following a failed clearance.

Pottsgrove (7-2, 9-3) cut one back before halftime on Scott Exley’s beautiful rising header of Justin Toth’s free kick. But Ardman pushed the lead back to two when he volleyed home a lofted through ball from Stevenson five minutes into the second half.

The Falcons may have created chances to get back into the game in the second half but Methacton goalkeeper Vinny Tasca carried a commanding presence on Pottsgrove’s cozy home field that turns every free kick and throw-in in the attacking third into a threat.

After a jarring season-opening loss to Boyertown (3-1 on Aug. 29), Methacton has been in top form under first-year coach John Smeykal. Along with eight straight victories over PAC-10 opponents, the Warriors also topped Souderton (1-0) and Central Bucks East (2-0), which is 8-0 in the Suburban One League Continental Division.

“We started off rough against Boyertown, but ever since that team chemistry has really been up and we’re on a roll right now,’ Ardman said. “Our new playing style of more possession, we got more comfortable with that. Our defenders are doing well and we’re creating chances to score.’

The Warriors only took four shots on goal against Pottsgrove, which managed five, but cashing in on the first three didn’t force the issue, happy to stick with their possession-oriented style that begins with holding midfielder Trent Taylor.

Things are going so well for Methacton the target for the season is increasingly high.

“Right now we feel like a district championship is possible and we can make a run at states. This is the best (Methacton) team in a while,’ Ardman said. “Usually we are (in the middle of the pack in the PAC-10), but this year something has changed.’

Pottsgrove hoped this season would feature change in the form of more wins during the divisional crossover games, annually the toughest stretch of the season for the Class AA squad that is never far from the top of the Frontier Division.

While the Falcons managed a 3-2 record in the crossovers, coach Jay Witkowski is calling for his team to get tougher.

“We’re learning that we have to toughen up. We’re soft right now and I’m sick of us playing soft,’ Witkowski said. “They have to toughen up, and by that I mean work harder, tackle when there are opportunities and play smarter.

“There are guys that are going to work hard for me and they are the ones that are going to play. When we play the bigger schools we see what’s successful and it’s not going out there and playing soft, it’s going out and working hard and earning your playing time.’

Beating the best team in the other PAC-10 division was another check mark for the winning Warriors.

“We were definitely motivated coming into this game,’ Ardman said. “We came in with an extra chip on our shoulder and came out firing.’


Pottsgrove leading scorer Kevin Rodriguez and top defender John Maher both left the game with injuries and didn’t return. Neither is expected to be out long-term. … Methacton’s Tasca had three saves while Pottsgrove keeper Liam Abdalla recorded one.

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