Minardi lifts Perk Valley to OT victory

PERKIOMEN TWP. — Perkiomen Valley High’s Ben Minardi had two thoughts when he got the ball in the midfield in overtime Wednesday afternoon.

With the host Vikings and visiting Methacton knotted at eight goals apiece, Minardi’s first thought was to run the play that was called by the coaches on the PV sidelines.

The second thought came seconds later when he saw something he could exploit in the Warriors defense.

Minardi went with his gut, and seconds later the Vikings had a key 9-8 Pioneer Athletic Conference win.

Minardi fired a shot over the right shoulder of Warriors goalkeeper Jake Blitzer just 1:14 into OT to set off a celebration that PV was hoping for since dropping a decision to Spring-Ford Monday night.

“We had a set play and I knew we should run it,’ Minardi said. “But I saw my defender’s stick kind of slide off to the side, and I felt I could get past him and go to goal.’

The clutch goal brought to a close a very competitive, albeit sloppy game in which both sides were guilty of as many mistakes as they produced positive plays.

“I think I lost a year of my life,’ deadpanned PV head coach Bryan Churchey after the celebration wound down. “It was an ugly game, not the way we wanted to play. But we made the plays we needed to make in the end.

“This was just the fifth time we’ve been outside this year, and it showed.’

As for the Warriors, they were just as mistake prone, although head coach Nat Ryan said one mistake trumped the others.

“We struggled clearing the ball, and that was what really hurt us today,’ Ryan said. “(PV) made one fewer mistake than we did, and that’s how the game played out.’

Methacton began quickly, taking a 3-1 lead early in the second quarter on a goal by Kyle Kacala.

PV got back to even on goals by Jake Willis and Shawn Coulter, only to see the Warriors steam back in front when Connor Stevenson scored twice within a span of 2:16 midway through the second.

The Vikings were certainly struggling, but according to Minardi never gave in to the frustration.

“We stuck together,’ Minardi said. “We might not have been taking the right shots or making the right passes, but we stayed together. We stayed as a family.’

The home team drew within a goal just 12 seconds before halftime when Brian Fehr converted a pass from Coulter just before being checked into the crease, then took its second lead of the game when Coulter and Dee Connor scored in the first half of the third quarter.

The Warriors got it even again when Stevenson scored off a feed from Mike DelVecchio exactly seven minutes into the third.

Throughout the final quarter, Matt Baker gave the Vikings a pair of one-goal leads, only to watch Ryan O’Toole and DelVecchio, respectively, tie the score.

With the issue unsettled, PV got an early opportunity in OT, then got the break it needed when a Warriors clearing pass went awry in the midfield.

The Vikings came up with the ball, Minardi chose what turned out to be the better of two options, and the home team had something to celebrate.

“We knew Methacton was a good team,’ Minardi said. “We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to, but we came out with a good team win.’

“We have a young team, and we’re kind of learning on the fly,’ Ryan said. “Today was an example of the challenge with inexperience.

“But with time, we’re going to get better.’

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