Boyertown makes own break in 3-0 PAC-10 semifinal win over Pottsgrove

Boyertown needed one.

Pottsgrove can’t seem to catch one.

After Tuesday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference boys soccer semifinal, both teams are as aware as ever, it only takes one break.

A penalty kick doesn’t equal a guarantee, but junior midfielder Nik Verma made his own break.

KEVIN HOFFMAN-THE MERCURY Pottsgrove's Patrick O'Brien heads the ball as Boyertown's Ethan Donohue looks on.
Pottsgrove’s Patrick O’Brien heads the ball as Boyertown’s Ethan Donohue looks on.

The junior midfielder converted his penalty kick dead center before Will Schul did a different kind of breaking – Pottsgrove’s hearts – with a pair of late goals as Boyertown rolled 3-0 at Owen J. Roberts’ North field to reach the PAC-10 championship game.

The Bears set up a title game rematch with Owen J. Roberts, a 5-2 winner over Phoenixville in a game played simultaneously at OJR in Final Four night.

“I think we’re motivated to be back in the finals and we really want to take it to them (OJR) this year,” Schul said. “We really want to get back at them and we really want to win it this year.”

Boyertown (10-2-1, 13-3-1) returns to the PAC final for the fourth time in five years (2011-12, 2014-15), including one championship (2012).

It wasn’t a lock they’d get there against a game Pottsgrove team (8-5, 10-8), the Frontier Division champion, that had the game neck-and-neck all first half.

The final result can’t chance the neverending heartbreak Pottsgrove has experienced in the PAC-10 semifinals – the Falcons are yet to make the final despite more than a couple District 1-AA title game appearances since the Final Four format began in 2003.

“I don’t know… I keep trying to get there,” coach Jay Witkowski said. “Next year we hope to get there again and take another run at it.”

It looked like it could’ve been the Falcons’ night when goalkeeper Liam Abdalla stopped a 2-on-1 breakaway by the Bears’ Alex Kidwell and Danny Yudt, but he closed down Yudt on the edge of the 18 to stop the threat.

Then, Pottsgrove midfielder Will Kaiser’s long header from a Nate Miller free kick from midfield hit the crossbar in the 30th minute.

KEVIN HOFFMAN - THE MERCURY Pottsgrove's David Dzordzorme and a Boyertown defender chase down the ball in the second half.
Pottsgrove’s David Dzordzorme and a Boyertown defender chase down the ball in the second half.

The tide turned with 3:41 when Yudt went hard for a header and bashed heads with the Falcons’ Tyler Rolando. Neither player returned to the game after concussion tests.

Pottsgrove didn’t look the same without the midfield pairing of Kaiser and Rolando while the Bears pushed on in the second half.

Schul showed he was lively after he sent a Kidwell layoff just high early in the second half.

The Bears got their break thanks to a hand ball in the penalty area with 29 minutes left in a back-and-forth, deadlocked battle.

“Yeah, we needed a break. We were getting a little frustrated but we earned the PK and then we were able to break through,” Verma said.

Verma made it possible by calmly hitting his penalty take high and center, beating Abdalla who went right.

Pottsgrove pushed for the equalizer but it only seemed to play into the Bears’ hands as Kidwell, Schul and sophomore Jimmy Towers were bright in attack.

Another break went against the Falcons when they suffered another key injury to leading center back Nate Miller.

“I thought we played well early and the injuries right through the middle really thinned us down,” Witkowski said. “We’ll keep trying to get that top spot.”

But Boyertown, and specifically Schul, was ready to take away any doubt in the final 10 minutes.

After the ball got caught in his feet along the left side, Schul spun and hit a turnaround shot to the near side through traffic for the 2-0 advantage.

KEVIN HOFFMAN - THE MERCURY Boyertown's Ethan Donohue and POttsgrove's Patrick O'Brien battle for the ball at midfield.
Boyertown’s Ethan Donohue and POttsgrove’s Patrick O’Brien battle for the ball at midfield.

Under three minutes later, Schul called off Verma and hit a one-timer from the right side, hitting it so cleanly the Pottsgrove defense barely had the chance to react.

“The second one, I just made solid contact. Once the contact happened I knew it was a goal,” Schul said.

Now, Boyertown gets another meeting with the team that helped kickstart its season.

“The real turning point was our Senior Night against Owen J. After we beat them I think we really turned it on,” Schul said.

NOTES >> Boyertown led in shots on goal, 9-2, and corners 3-1. Abdalla made six saves while Boyertown keeper Fred Agliano stopped two shots. … Pottsgrove will head on to the District 1-AA playoffs. It is current ranked No. 4. Boyertown is ranked No. 6 in Class AAA. PAC-10 playoff games do not count toward district rankings.

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