Penn Charter rallies past Germantown Academy to claim PAISAA title

RADNOR — The present may not be bright, but the future is a megawatt movie marquee.

For Germantown Academy’s girls soccer team, the present ended Saturday night at frigid Cabrini College when two second-half goals pushed Penn Charter past the Patriots, 3-1, in the championship finals of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.

Goals by Frenchie Pellerito, in the 53rd minute, and Jlon Flippens (in the 77th minute) were the difference for the top-seeded Quakers, who wound up scoring three unanswered goals after GA took a 1-0 lead.

It took some time for the match’s first goal to be scored, but once GA junior Emmy Dolaway found netting with a left-footed blast, the action heated up, and never really sagged.

“That’s what we said at halftime,’ said Patriots head coach Chris Nelson. “Nothing really happened in the first 20 minutes.

“We should have started the match at the 20-minute mark.’

No sooner did Dolaway put the Patriots on top then the Quakers answered with the first of Flippens’ two goals, a beauty in which she used her body to fend off a Patriots defender, and while being dragged down in the box slipped a shot past keeper Kat Stambaugh.

That goal, while squaring the match, did little to slow the GA attack. The Patriots owned a territorial and shot edge on the Quakers for the rest of the half.

“I guess we started kind of slowly,’ Dolaway said, “but when that goal went in, everybody got amped up.

“And it was a team effort.’

The Patriots had several big chances in the late stages of the first half, first, by freshman Mackenzie Pluck, whose shot just sailed over the net in the 31st minute, and then by Dolaway, who was stopped by Quakers keeper Mackenzie Listman.

“I felt good about our first half,’ Nelson said. “We were in a good place, but we just weren’t able to score.’

The first half was also noteworthy because the Patriots lost their best defender, senior Victoria Mauro, to what was believed to be a serious knee injury.

“Not only did we lose our best defender,’ Nelson said, “but then we had to move people all over, and that hurt us in our coverage at certain times.’

At the break, the Patriots seemed to be more than holding their own, a trend that continued early in the second half.

But a seemingly harmless Patriots turnover in the midfield quickly changed their fortunes.

Pellerito came up with the ball in the midfield, and launched a shot over Stambaugh for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

“The goal was kind of against the flow of play,’ Nelson said. “It was a quick counter attack, and we didn’t handle it well.

“To (Penn Charter’s) credit, they took advantagge.’

Penn Charter nearly doubled its lead moments later when Alexis Hnatkowsky rattled a shot off the right goalpost, but the Patriots had their chances as well, most notably when Bailey Gilmore’s open shot went directly to Listman, and then when Brynn Skelly’s volley slipped wide of the far post.

“We had a couple of good chances in the second half,’ Nelson said. “We did everything we wanted to do, except score.’

With the Patriots pressing for the tying goal, the Quakers caught GA’s defense pushing up too far, and Flippens was able to chip a long shot over Stambaugh that found the middle of the net in the match’s final minutes.

“I thought we came out strong in the second half,’ Dolaway said. “Losing (Mauro) really hurt, but everybody gave 110 percent. We didn’t lose because of a lack of effort.’

And if promise means anything, the Patriots won’t be doing a whole lot of losing in the future.

The GA roster contained just two seniors, while many of the regulars are sophomores and freshmen.

“We have so many young players with so much potential,’ Dolaway said. “Next year is looking good for us.’

“I feel we’re in a good spot for next year,’ echoed Nelson. “We have a young group with a lot of talent.

“Our future is super, super bright.’

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