Downingtown West braves wind, penalty kicks

DOWNINGTOWN – After the kerfuffle stemming from the delayed start of the District 1 Class AAA playoffs, you figure everybody would be ready for the start of Thursday’s first-round game between 16th-seeded Downingtown West and No. 17 Unionville at DiSerafino Stadium.

Eh, not quite.

Due to a mixup, there were no referees for the scheduled 5 p.m. start. After more than an hour delay, the game proceeded on a chilly, blustery evening. The Whippets (12-5-1) advanced to the girls soccer second round with a 3-1 victory in penalty kicks after the preceeding 110 minutes were scoreless.

Downingtown West will go up against top-seeded Pennsbury in the second round Saturday.

“It was crazy, having to go back to the go the locker room, but we got it together, stayed focused and had our team behind us, which was good,’ said Downingtown West forward Amanda Treadway, who scored the deciding kick.

Unionville had the honors in penalty kicks and sent out freshman Veronica Hineman to leadoff the session. After a couple of quick stutterstep moves, Hineman sent her kick over the bar.

“I was,’ said West goalkeeper Shae Yanez when asked if she was surprised when Hineman’s kick went over the bar. “I thought it was going to go on the ground, but luckily, it went right over.’

Lyndsay Cox stepped up for the Whippets. Her low shot was easily saves by goalie Adrianna Weber and we were scoreless after one round.

The goal drought contined with Unionville’s second effort as the shot was pulled wide of Yanez. West broke through as Casey Sheehan beat Weber inside the right post to take the lead.

The Indians dropped deeper into a hole as Sydney Seidenberger missed also to really put the Whippets into the driver’s seat.

“The girls did three days of penalty kicks, the three that missed, never missed,’ lamented Unionville coach Joe Ratasiewicz. “Sometimes with the pressure, it’s tough to focus.’

“I was just going out trying to get into their heads,’ said Yanez. “I would stay on my six-yard line until they came up and set the ball and I watched their hips and went for it.’

Siena Veruink made it 2-1 by scoring just inside the left post.

Unionville stayed alive as Chloe Smith stepped up and confidently thumped her effort past Yanez.

Treadway needed to score to send West through, she wrong-footed Weber to easily slot the boot inside the right post to send her team into joyous celebration.

“I saw the whole team behind me, holding hands and that was inspirational, Treadway said. “We practiced it and I knew I had to do it for my teammates and the fans.’

The gusty winds played havoc, making conditions for attractive soccer not ideal. The experienced senior goalkeepers did not have much to do, Weber made five saves and Yanez had three.

Both backlines were stellar as they kept their shapes and didn’t give up easy chances.

Unionville had one of the best attempts in the second half as a free kick served by Lindsey Cicchino found Sophia Detweiller at the far post, but her sharp angle shot went into the side netting.

The Indians, who beat Downingtown West earlier in the season, ended their campaign at 11-8.

“I thought we had a pretty good year,’ said Ratasiewicz. “We were in every game we lost and could’ve won some of those. So overall, I thought we had a good season.’

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