Pope John Paul II uses early goal to down Methacton

WORCESTER >> It did not take long for the deciding goal to be scored in Wednesday’s matchup between Pope John Paul II and Methacton on Methacton’s new turf field.

In the fifth minute, PJP’s Reiley Cotter boomed a corner into the box, Carson Tracy corralled the ball and beat Methacton’s keeper for the lone score in the Panther’s 1-0 victory.

“Carson has been due all year,” Pope John Paul II coach Stewart Sherk said. “She’s just a great finisher. She’s the motor in the middle and keeps us going. She has great penetrating passes and penetrating runs and she was just due today. It was her time.”

Starting fast was something Sherk wanted after PJP’s 4-2 loss to Spring-Ford on Monday.

“We came out on fire,” Sherk said. “We had a little bit of a hangover coming from Spring-Ford, we thought we had that one. We were really competitive in that game and we know we can hang with those type of teams. Coming into tonight we had a lot of energy.

“When we get off to a fast start we’re usually pretty good and we were able to hang on because we played solid defense and we played patient.”

Methacton coach Bret Smith was not happy with his side’s start to the game.

“Pope John Paul wanted to win more than we did,” Smith said. “Most of the air balls, most of the throw-ins and most of the goal kicks — they were getting the first touch on I’d say 90-percent of them. They caught us asleep in the first couple minutes of the game when they scored their goal. I just thought the main difference was they went harder to the ball than we did today.”

The Warriors (3-6-2, 3-5) offense — which features two freshman on the attack — continued to struggle and were shut out for the fifth time in 11 games this season.

“We need to get more numbers in the box,” Smith said. “We need to keep possession of the ball — we didn’t do a good job of that today. If we can play to players’ feet and know when to play to our forwards in space, when to play at their feet and have them go at the defenders — all that kind of stuff we’re still working on.”

The Panthers (7-3, 6-3) defense is also a big reason why Methacton was unable to get any clear chances on the offensive end.

“We practice just containing and not over-committing and let the attacker make mistakes,” Sherk said. “Last year we played with a sweeper, so this year was an adjustment coming back to just a flat-four. That was a huge adjustment and huge committmet. We had our growing pains as we saw against Owen J. Roberts (7-0 loss last Wednesday) but we are able to work through them and the girls are relying on each other and they have faith in each other which is a big part of it.”

Both goaltenders played well. PJP’s Colleen Morton stopped all six shots she faced and Methacton’s Elizabeth Stender made eight saves.

Methacton is back in action Friday afternoon, on the road against Pottsgrove at 4 p.m. Pope John Paul II hosts Pottstown Monday at 4 p.m.

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