Upper Dublin completes sweep over Plymouth Whitemarsh

WHITEMARSH >> History has a tendency to repeat itself.

On Tuesday, for the second time this season, the Upper Dublin boys soccer team overcame a second-half one-goal deficit against Plymouth Whitemarsh and turned it into a 2-1 Suburban One League American Conference victory.

The game-winner came off the foot of junior midfielder Jose Palomeque. Senior Nick Browndorf fed the ball to classmate Jake Rosen into the corner to the left of the Colonials keeper. Rosen crossed it to the middle and Palomeque buried it home in the final minute.

“I thought maybe that 1-0 lead was going to hold up,” PW coach Devon Landgraff said. “But they find ways to score. This is exactly what happened last time we played them (Sept. 18 at Upper Dublin).”

The Cardinals improved to 9-2 and remain on top of the SOL American Conference with the win.

“That’s a huge win, especially coming down the stretch,” UD coach Derek Preist said. “It keeps us on track for the title. We have three games left — if we win those three than we win the conference. We had four big games coming into this week and that’s one out of the way.”

The loss drops Plymouth Whitemarsh to 6-3-2 in league play.

The game was so tight due to great defensive and goaltender play from each side. PW’s Matt Gatta finished with 11 saves and UD’s Thomas Juelke totaled eight stops.

For the Colonials, it was defenders Dillon Johnson, Christian Jones and Sean O’brien that kept Upper Dublin’s fast attack off the scoreboard for the first 60 minutes.

“Eventually (Upper Dublin) burned us because they counter so quickly,” Landgraff said. “We just couldn’t find everyone streaking through the middle.”

The tying goal came halfway through the second half. Senior Kevin Hoxha raced to the sideline to keep a ball in bounds in the Cardinals offensive end. After saving the possession, Hoxha turned and sent the ball to the front of the net, where it bounced around and was eventually scored by senior Nick Browndorf.

“Two great finishes,” Priest said of the goals. “We didn’t play the best soccer today and a lot of credit goes to PW because of that. They made it difficult for us, but two great finishes when it came to the crunch.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh scored its goal in the first five minutes of the first half. Sophomore Gavin Hendrick took a free kick from 45 yards away that took a Colonials bounce over the Upper Dublin goalie and into the back of the net.

“It gave us a little bit of a jolt,” Landgraff said. “One of our issues has been starting slow in games. We always need something — a big play, anything — to get us going and that was it.

“I think it was two systems of play battling each other and today, unfortunately, they won out.”

Both teams are on the road Thursday in SOL American games at 3:30 p.m. Plymouth Whitemarsh travels to Springfield-Montco and Upper Dublin takes on Upper Merion.

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