Boyertown clinches PAC-10 playoff spot in 1-1 draw with Spring-Ford

The Boyertown boys soccer team may pay attention in math class, but they weren’t paying too much attention to the math of the Pioneer Athletic Conference standings.

The Bears believed a win over Spring-Ford would clinch a spot in the Final Four out of the Liberty Division.

Boyertown's Levi Roberts plays a free kick against Spring-Ford.
Boyertown’s Levi Roberts plays a free kick against Spring-Ford.

Instead, Boyertown got a result they weren’t bargaining for. As it turns out, that may be cause for celebration.

After the Bears’ Alex Kidwell stunned Coach McNelly Stadium by scoring 11 seconds into the game, Spring-Ford’s Owen Gulati equalized in the second half. With both teams facing major playoff implications, their efforts cancelled one another out as Boyertown and Spring-Ford settled for a 1-1 draw after two overtimes Tuesday night.

The draw takes Boyertown to 9-2-1 in the PAC-10 (12-3-1 overall) while Spring-Ford took its third draw to go to 7-2-3 (7-5-3 overall). With one league contest remaining, the Rams can’t overtake the Bears in the standings, thereby clinching a Final Four spot for Boyertown.

Not that they knew it.

“Coach (Scott Didyoung) mentioned that we could clinch but we weren’t positive. He was trying to figure out the math, but he teaches English,” joked senior center back Levi Roberts.
“That’s great. The guys will be really stoked to be back in the playoffs.”

Both teams played like it was a must-win. It may have been for Spring-Ford, which was ranked No. 30 in Monday’s District 1 Power Rankings, two spots out of qualification.

It was a dream start for the Bears after they thumped the opening touch long toward goal and capitalized when the ball wasn’t cleared and Kidwell made himself the beneficiary.

Spring-Ford chased the game and worked its way into it, Cole Pajovich leading the defense while Gulati and right winger Austin Betts provided the attacking thrust.

It took a piece of individual brilliance in the 56th minute when Gulati came to receive a throw-in, flipped the ball over the defense and ran on to it himself before hitting the purest of strikes to the top right corner of goal.

“We got that early goal which really helped us and it meant we could pack back,” Roberts said. “We had so many chances but we just couldn’t capitalize and we made that stupid defnseive error. But take nothing away from him (Gulati), it was a great goal. But we should have stopped that.”BT_YUDT_RECKE

Goalkeepers Fred Agliano of Boyertown and Kyle Allan of Spring-Ford stopped the rest. Agliano finished with five saves, Allan with eight.

Allan made a number of crucial saves late, closing nicely on a breakaway by Nik Verma and saving a point-blank shot from Jimmy Towers. He got a little help from Pajovich and midfielder Matt Schweitzer, who each made a defensive save to keep things level.

The Boyertown back line had a bit less to do, but the experienced unit was up for whatever challenge it faced.

It’s a group that came together unexpectedly to an outsider after Roberts and Danny Yudt were key pieces of the Bears’ midfield in 2014.

“Coach said early in the season, ‘What do you guys think it I put you (Roberts), Erik Recke, Danny Yudt and Adam Gilbert (who is hurt) in the back as the back four?’ Roberts said. “We felt like, ‘Wow, that can be a really good back line but where are we going to generate goals?’ But the younger kids, the juniors have been stepping up a lot and it’s been working ever since.”

The Bears haven’t conceded more than two goals in any game and are headed to the PAC-10 and District 1-AAA playoffs.

Do the math.

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