BOYERTOWN >> The Spring-Ford girls soccer team has rarely known who would suit up for them in the different colored jersey and gloves this season.
Through five games, they’ve had three different goalkeepers, including right back Amy Roth at one point.
Fortunately for the Rams, the personnel in front of the goalkeeper is as well known of a commodity as they come.
The faces may be changing of who is patrolling the net, but the results and the amount of goals entering the net aren’t.
Spring-Ford continued its early streak of not conceding a goal while sophomore KK O’Donnell came to the rescue in the second overtime to lift the Rams over Boyertown Tuesday night in a showdown of Pioneer Athletic Conference contenders at Boyertown’s Memorial Stadium.
“We have a strong defense and not only the back four,” senior center back Laura Suero said. “As a team, we know we have to play defense. I felt like we played a strong defensive game, high energy the whole game. Maybe at some points our energy dropped but then we got right back in it and knew what we had to do to win.”
Suero and defensive partners Taylor Newhart, Roth and Missy Moore did their part to protect freshman goalkeeper Alex Hyduke, who made her first varsity start. But Hyduke (five saves) more than earned her place, making a couple dazzling saves including a game-saver on Lauren Haley’s breakaway in the final minute of regulation.
Underclassmen starred for Spring-Ford with a freshman in goal and a couple sophomores setting up the game-winning goal – Alayna Gairo’s cross to the far post finding O’Donnell for a perfect header back across goal in the 94th minute.
“I cut across the middle when (Alayna) served it. (Coach Tim Leyland) was telling me to cut across the defense and I jumped up and got it,” O’Donnell said.
It dampened the performance of Boyertown, which was up to the Spring-Ford challenge and then some. The Rams had more of possession throughout – they held a 9-5 shots on goal advantage – but the Bears may have carried the greater scoring threat, which was fueled by Haley, Sam Brensinger and Taylor Sassaman.
It took a picture perfect setup to beat Boyertown keeper Sarafina Valenti (eight saves) in the end, when even Spring-Ford stalwart Suero had doubts the game had a goal in it.
It did and it worked in the favor of the scoreless streak of Spring-Ford (2-0-1, 4-0-1).
“It’s the most amazing back four I could work with,” said Suero, a Penn State commit. “We cover each other’s back, we can read each other. I feel so confident back there. And with all the goalies we’ve had recently – we’ve had three different goalies this year – it’s been awesome.
“I knew if we did our thing and play defense as a team we could win this game. And we did.”
NOTES >> The game was staged as a boy-girl doubleheader between Spring-Ford and Boyertown. The family of Jacob Karnchanaphati, a soccer-loving Boyertown student who died in July in a drowning accident, was honored between games. Money was raised at the games to contribute to a memorial scholarship in Karnchanaphati’s name which will annually go to a boy and girl Boyertown soccer player to assist in their college pursuits.