Forrest fires Hill School past Kiski, into PAISAA final

POTTSTOWN – A freezing cold, wintry mix wasn’t enough to slow down Mark Forrest and The Hill School boys soccer team Thursday.

Forrest and the No. 4 seed Blues topped No. 9 seed Kiski 2-1 in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association semifinals at Harry L. Price Field.

Forrest was a cool customer in the game, finishing with two goals, including the decider with just over a minute left in regulation.

“The weather definitely intimidated us early on,’ he said. “I think a lot of it was just us adjusting to the sleet and trying to get comfortable. But all things aside, we knew that they were facing the same conditions we were. We just needed to play our game, which we did.’

With the win, the Blues (15-3-2) earned their fourth-straight trip to the PAISAA final and will look to defend their title when they face No. 3 seed Mercersburg Academy on Saturday at Cabrini College (6:30 p.m.).

“This was a great win,’ said Hill School head coach Christopher Drowne. “We fell behind early on, but we never let ourselves get down. We never lost sight of how important this game was for us.’

Just over three minutes in, Hill senior Zack Keller took it in on a breakaway and fired the first shot on net, which was saved by Kiski keeper Sean Westwood.

A minute later, Kiski’s Pedro Saddy flicked one into the back of the net, which was then called back for offside.

In the 26th minute, Forrest went on a breakaway, but was stuffed by Westwood. After it bounced around in front of the net, Forrest put another shot on goal, but was again denied by Westwood.

With 17 left in the first half, Kiski’s David Egbo stole it at midfield, flew past the defense and sent a brisk shot past Ross Lomire to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

“We got a fortunate bounce, which David took advantage of,’ said Kiski head coach Matt Kokoszka. “That was the goal we had been searching for all throughout the first half. Unfortunately for us, that was the only one we could muster.’

In the second half, The Hill had a very offensive approach.

Just over three minutes in, Will Blake found Andrew Lundstrom across the middle who put it wide left of the net.

After a handball, Forrest took a free kick, and froze Westwood to even the score 1-1 at 35:03.

“I saw the goalie on the other side of the net, so I tried to bend the ball around the wall of defenders,’ he said. “We knew that if we could tie up the score, we could definitely pull this one out. And that’s just what we did.’

The Blues kept the pressure on the rest of the way and dominated possession.

With just under three minutes left in regulation nearly got the breakthrough when Keller took a shot, which was tipped by the goalie, and bounced off the post.

“That was frustrating,’ said Keller. “We had a really good opportunity right there, and we just couldn’t capitalize. But we knew we weren’t finished just yet.’

Then, with 1:35 to go, Keller found Forrest cutting down the middle, who sent it past Westwood to give The Hill the 2-1 victory.

“To be honest, I wasn’t too sure how it went in,’ said Forrest. “But Zack put a good ball in the zone and I just did my best to put a good shot on net. And the rest is history.’

The Blues will look to stay cold-blooded this weekend as they face Mercersburg, with whom they tied 2-2 during the regular season.

“They’re an excellent team, certainly deserving of the league title this season,’ said Drowne. “It should be a really tough match, but something we’ve been looking forward to all season. I know the boys will be ready for this game, and I’m excited to see what we can do.’

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