Boyertown blanks Owen J. Roberts, 2-0

BUCKTOWN — When three teams are tied and competing for just two spots to earn a playoff berth, there is bound to be drama.

Boyertown defeated Owen J. Roberts 2-0 Wednesday night in a Pioneer Athletic Conference clash at Henry J. Bernat Field. With the win, the Bears (9-2) gained sole possession of first place while the Wildcats (8-3) fell to third behind Methacton (8-2).

In the early weeks of the season, Owen J. Roberts defeated Boyertown 3-1, something Bears head coach Scott Didyoung said served as a lesson to his players.

“We played a lot smarter and a lot more efficiently than we did last time we faced this team,’ said Didyoung. “We made a lot of mistakes in that game and didn’t want to make those same mistakes again. Since then, our team has made a few tweaks and we’ve come together very well.’

The Bears made very few mistakes throughout the night, moving and possessing the ball well and allowing just three shots on goal throughout the game.

“Tonight we kept our composure from start to finish,’ said Boyertown junior Danny Yudt, who finished with a goal and an assist. “Last time against these guys, we got down in the match early and let it get to us, but tonight we didn’t allow that tonight. We played really well on both sides of the ball.’

Both teams struggled to create any scoring opportunities in the first half as both defenses looked stout.

In the 32nd minute, Yudt shook two Wildcats defenders in the middle but fired a shot just over the net.

Four minutes later, Wil Schul sent a free kick toward the net, but it was stopped by Owen J. Roberts goalkeeper Zach Serbin, who finished with four saves in net.

Going into the half tied at 0-0, both teams knew they needed to make adjustments.

According to Owen J. Roberts head coach Eric Wentzel, Boyertown was constantly cutting off the passing lanes, making it difficult for the Wildcats to set up any sort of offensive pressure.

“They made it really difficult for us to settle the ball and get into our passing game which is what we’ve done all season,’ he said. “In the second half, we needed to control the ball more frequently, but they made it really difficult. They were definitely faster and more athletic, which gave us problems all game.’

Although pleased with his defensive effort, Didyoung hoped the Bears would create more offensive pressure.

“In the opening half, we were playing solid defense, but we weren’t creating enough scoring opportunities,’ said Didyoung. “We wanted to speed up the tempo of our offense in the second half and create more scoring chances.’

And the Bears did just that.

Five minutes into the second half, Yudt got it across the middle to Schul, who fired it into the net with his left foot to give OJR the 1-0 lead at 35:33.

“I was making a run across the middle and I passed it to Danny hoping for a pass back,’ said Schul. “When I got it back, I saw a lot of open space in front, so I sent it toward the goal hoping for something good.’

With the goal, something seemed to have clicked in the Boyertown offense.

“It got us fired up,’ said Yudt. “Once we scored that first goal, we felt like a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders. Even though we lost to these guys before, we knew this was our game to win tonight.’

In the 25th minute, Bears senior Dan Bechtel hit one off the post on a breakaway before it was cleared by the Wildcats defense.

Just a few minutes later, Andrew Beaver found Yudt, who slid past the Owen J. defense and fired it past the keeper for the 2-0 lead at 19:08.

For the remaining time, the Bears shut down everything Owen J. threw at them and limited the Wildcats to just one shot on goal.

“Tonight definitely wasn’t our greatest performance, but that’s credit to them,’ said Wentzel. “All night long, we couldn’t get to the ball first. They were way too fast and way too athletic for us. That’s what our biggest struggle was tonight.’

For Boyertown, gaining first place in the division is something worth noting, but nothing worth celebrating just yet, according to Didyoung.

“It’s right where we want to be at this point in the season,’ he said. “At this point, our destiny is in our own hands. We just need to be consistent and play good soccer if we want to stay where we are.’

Boyertown will travel to Perkiomen Valley Friday at 4 p.m. while Owen J. Roberts visits Henderson Saturday.

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