Rutherford, Quinn send Phoenixville past Perkiomen Valley, to PIAA berth

Graterford — She took 100 strokes in practice Tuesday.

But none were as important as Wednesday’s.

Staring down Perkiomen Valley’s Annie Himsworth on a crucial penalty stroke opportunity with a one-goal lead two minutes away from the team’s first state berth since 2001, Phoenixville goalkeeper Kim Rutherford heeded her coach’s tutelage the day prior.

“Stay right, stay low and keep the ball out of the net at all costs,’ the keeper said.

She did just that.

Rutherford broke right on Himsworth’s stroke, knocking the ball away with a leaning stick save, ensuring the Phantoms’ 2-1 victory over Perkiomen Valley in the District 1-AAA playback round and book a spot in the PIAA Class AAA Championships on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.

“I was like, ‘ I just want to get it out. I don’t care how I do it, I don’t care if it’s ugly the way I do it; I just need to keep this ball out,” Rutherford said.

“It’s amazing (making the state tournament). We’ve worked so hard, put in so many hours. To have one of our goals pay off, it’s amazing. I can’t ask for anything better.’

“We said the tendency for strong players is to go right, stick side,’ Phoenixville head coach John Tornetta said. “Good strokers aren’t going to throw it right at you; they are going to throw it at one of the corners. She moved right and she blocked it. Everyone who stroked on her last night deserves credit for that save she made today.’

Among those strokers was Bailey Quinn, who benefitted from the practice herself, and converted two penalty strokes in the second half to supply the margin of victory.

Rutherford finished with four saves for Phoenixville, which will host Conestoga (3 p.m.) for the district’s No. 5 seed Friday. A win will pit them against the District 11 champion in the PIAA first round. A loss and the Phantoms will face the winner of the District 3-AAA tournament, which will be either Lower Dauphin (22-1) or Palmyra (20-1).

The Phantoms fell in the second round of the 2001 PIAA-AA playoffs to eventual champion Wyoming Seminary in the second round.

Perkiomen Valley, meanwhile, couldn’t add to its one-goal lead after Emily Nagle’s shot fought its way through traffic six minutes into the second half. The Vikings close out the season with their first PAC-10 Championship since 2007, finishing with an unblemished 13-0 regular season conference record.

PV goalkeeper Kerri Hanshaw finished with six saves in the loss.

“Our scoring chances didn’t just pan out,’ Perkiomen Valley head coach Erik Enters said. “We had shots that we just didn’t put in.

“I’m proud of this team and that we’ve come this far. You can see it in the skill level. I can go on and on about how all my players stepped up and played great this season.’

Quinn continued her heroics through the district playoffs, converting her two penalty strokes in the second half, the second stroke opportunity arising after Nathalie Sell knocked down a shot on goal illegally (her stick was above her shoulders) with 4:29 left.

The area-leading scorer Quinn, who was marked well all game by Kat Bartkowski, Lauren Wrzesniewski and Sell, labeled both of her strokes top shelf and out of the reach of Hanshaw. Her first marker, coming minutes after she missed a wide open cage after Hanshaw came out to challenge, tied it at one with 15 minutes remaining in the second half. The senior Old Dominion recruit has five converted penalty strokes this tournament.

“Taking strokes is a lot of pressure but I knew I had it,’ Quinn said. “I’ve been doing them ever since I was young so I was confident that I’d convert on them.’

Her penalty strokes were in result from Phoenixville’s offensive pressure in the circle throughout. The Phantoms induced 18 penalty corners, including 12 in the first half, a crucial statistic in a game that was marred by a steady rain and slick grass.

“We gave up way too many corners,’ Enters said. “We talked about that in practice the last few days. I told them we cannot keep giving them corners. It wears you down. That last stroke came off a corner.’

The last one was the difference maker.

“This is the best feeling in the world,’ Quinn said. “We knew that we could beat this team, on this grass. We were excited to play against them and we played well all across the board. There were no letdowns from us because we knew that if we let up at all, we wouldn’t be able to win.’


Himsworth finished her season with 12 goals and 13 assists. The Vikings’ Kelsey Giese, who was limited throughout, finished with a team-high 15 goals.

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