Council Rock North re-captures Unity Cup with comeback win at South

NEWTOWN — Coming off a recent overtime loss to Neshaminy, Council Rock North knew it needed a win. Yet here it was trailing sister school CR South 1-0 yesterday (Oct. 9) in the second half of the teams’ annual fight for the Unity Cup.

The home team Golden Hawks — who captured the cup the previous two seasons — held a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal by South senior Nikki Caffey off a cross from classmate Rebecca Davey.

The key to winning for the Lady Indians (10-4-1, 7-4-1) was keeping their composure, despite facing a one-goal deficit only four minutes into the second half.

“We knew we had plenty of time to get it back,’ said CR North junior midfielder Tori Hill. “It really showed a lot o our character right there.

“We didn’t get down and start playing badly; instead, we took it and made it into something positive.

“We worked hard to earn it back and got two goals.

Indeed, they did.

Nine minutes after the strike by Caffey, Indians midfielder Kiki Glatz bounced a ball high over a South defender and found sophomore Kayla Robinson all alone streaking in on the goal. Robinson slid the ball past the outstretched arms of Hawks goalkeeper Allison Taub for the equalizer.

Five minutes later, North senior captain Michaela Finneyfrock registered the game-winner, a rocket of a shot she blasted off the top of the crossbar and into the net for the game-winner.

“We started the second half a little sluggish and South scored a goal,’ explained Lady Indians head coach Wendell Beres. “Just like we’ve done all year, it kind of woke us up.’

“We came back and we really took it to them for the last 20 minutes and scored two great goals.

“It was a solid overall team effort.’

Try as it might, South (10-5-1, 7-5) could not get another ball past Indians netminder Jeri Belardo. The closest the Hawks came was on a shot by South senior Elissa Dotzman. Belardo was equal to the task, tipping the ball up and over the crossbar to deny Dotzman’s attempt with 20 minutes remaining in the contest.

North withstood a furious attack by the Hawks in the closing minutes with Caffey trying to get a ball through to Dotzman with two minutes to go only to see the attempt booted away by Indians backfielder Madison Attanasio. In the final minute, Davey’s corner kick was headed over the net and out of play by North senior Grace Meinster.

“I give them a lot of credit; they didn’t give up until the very end,’ said Hill. “But I also give our players a lot of credit for fighting to get the ball out of our end and away from our net.

“Our defenders played awesome today and they did their best to not let anything get past them.’

Taking the Unity Cup back to Newtown for the first time in three seasons was the best part, said North netminder Jeri Belardo.

“We needed the win but even more than that, we just wanted (the Unity Cup); we definitely wanted it so much.

“South won it last year and had it the year before so winning it this year feels great.’

From the other bench, Davey reiterated the importance of the annual war with the Indians.

“This is always a tough game because it’s the rivalry,’ she said. “It’s the North versus South game so it’s a pride thing.

“Everybody wants that trophy; you want to come out on top in this game.’

The Hawks have two games left and both are sure to be hard-fought battles. First, South takes on Neshaminy Oct. 15 under the lights at North before finishing up at Pennsbury on Friday, Oct. 17.

The Falcons clinched the SOL National Conference title Thursday afternoon, Oct. 9 with a scoreless tie in double OT against Neshaminy. After getting off to a slow start, the Skins have come on of late, winning four straight starting with a Sept. 27 triumph over perennial power Downingtown West.

Nevertheless, Davey doesn’t see a problem with the remaining schedule.

“We need that pressure to push us forward,’ she said. “The pressure will make us; it will test our limits and see how far we can go.’

For North, the win over the Hawks pushed them into third place in the SOL National Conference behind Neshaminy and Pennsbury. The Indians have now won four of their last six including a 1-0 triumph over Philadelphia Catholic League power Archbishop Wood on a goal by Hill Sept. 30 in Warminster.

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