McClure’s OT goal sends North Penn past Souderton

TOWAMENCIN — Superheroes were the theme of the North Penn girls soccer team Senior Night Tuesday. That ended up being a fitting choice with Maddy McClure swooping in and saving the Maidens’ postseason chances.

After a scoreless regulation with visiting Souderton, the senior midfielder’s shot off a corner kick in the second minute of overtime ricocheted off the post and into the back of the net, giving the Maidens a 1-0 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.

“It’s pretty awesome cause we had to win tonight — it was do-or-die or else we probably weren’t going to playoffs,’ McClure said. “It’s a big relief and it was just great to win. And everyone worked so hard, so it was just all-around team effort.’

The Maidens (9-6-2, 5-6-2 conference) were 26th in the last District 1-AAA power rankings released — 28 teams make the postseason — but that was before back-to-back losses to Pennridge and Central Bucks West and a 3-1 win over Villa Maria.

“If we can go 10-6-2 overall, that should probably get us in,’ North Penn coach Jim Dehner said. “That’s what our thoughts are. Whether it happens or not, it comes down to the points system.’

North Penn needed a win against the Indians (6-9-1, 5-8-0) and while the home side had the better of play for most of the contest, it took extra time and a Hannah Alexander corner to finally crack the Souderton defense.

“We knew that it was actually going to be a struggle for us — for both teams really,’ Dehner said. “We’re competitive teams, and we’re pretty evenly-matched in a lot of categories, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. There’s no easy games, so we’re just happy that we got this win.’

McClure’s strike came moments after Souderton had a chance at the golden goal. The Maidens proceeded to earn a corner to the right of goal and Alexander’s high, arching effort found the incoming McClure. The senior volleyed a shot that banked off the left post and into the net.

“It was just a great ball,’ McClure said. “And I normally play trash outside, so I just wait for the ball to come down and I just happened to be at the right place, right time.’

The goal set off a joyous celebration for both the Maidens and fans on the field.

“I didn’t realize it happened at first. And then it just hit me,’ McClure said. “And everyone came gathering at me, so it was pretty awesome.’

North Penn can reach the 10-win mark Thursday when it ends the regular-season at Hatboro-Horsham, which NP played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 19.

“We are much better than years before, we’ve improved a lot and we’re just a hard-working team,’ McClure said. “So I think we deserve (to make districts) 100 percent, but it’s not up to me.’

Tuesday’s win gave North Penn the regular-season sweep of the Indians, having beat Big Red 2-1 in overtime on Sept. 17. Ally King provided the Maidens the game winner in that contest.

Souderton, which was 34th in the last power rankings, tries to keep its district hopes alive with wins in its last two games — Central Bucks East Thursday and West Chester Henderson Saturday. Both are at home.

“The whole season we’ve been aiming at eight wins,’ Indians coach Chris Felber said. “We reckon that would probably be enough to get us in, so we’re aiming at two wins this week out of three games. We’ve got two games left, so making it hard for ourselves. This was certainly one we thought we could win. But we got two games, so as long as we can try we’ll go for it.’

North Penn had two chances early in the second half to break the scoreless tie. Stephanie Bresadola’s shot from distance hit the crossbar, then bounced twice on it before rolling out for a goal kick. King got behind the Big Red defense, but her shot past keeper Jaclyn Parry — who made nine saves — was pushed wide of the far post.

Souderton stymied the Maidens from there and in the later stages of regulation looked the more threatening side. The Indians almost got one at the start of overtime when a dangerous cross into the box needed a block and NP goalie Laura Leonard grasping at a loose ball in traffic to deny Souderton.

“That was a great play. That was one of those moments where we got the ball in behind, we’re running in behind, the ball’s on the ground,’ Felber said. “The ball comes across, but the first shot gets blocked and it’s just bouncing around, it’s a free-for-all. But the initial play was fantastic, it would have been a great way to win the game.’

The Indians’ other opportunities came on restarts in the first half. A header off a corner kick was sent towards goal, but a North Penn defender was at the left post to clear it, while a low free kick was bobbled slightly by Leonard before she gained full control.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply