Clements shines as Christopher Dock advances to District 1-A final

EAST WHITELAND >> At halftime of Monday night’s District 1-AA girls soccer semifinal between Christopher Dock and St. Basil, it became apparent the first goal would likely be the winner.

And not only was it apparent that the first goal would win, but who would score it.

There was very little that separated the two talented teams as they went toe to toe all night long. The difference in the game for Dock was it had the best player on the field.

“Just one player. A very good player. We contained her most of the time,” said. St. Basil coach Jack Kilroy of Dock’s Nikki Clements. “She got a couple good breaks and she put the ball in the net. That’s what great players do.”

The best player was Clements as she showcased her blazing speed, great footwork and lethal shot all night.

At 28:26 in the second half, Clements received a pass from Maddie Swartley and ripped a shot that deflected off a St. Basil defender and into the net. The goal gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead and stood as the game winner.

“Maddie Swartley played it to me and I turned and I was going to pass it off and then I turned back inside and took the shot,” Clements said.

Though the goal would stand as the game winner, it wasn’t Clements final mark. She would ice the game with another gorgeous play at 16:21 to clinch the 2-0 victory.

The game started off at a frantic pace and never tapered off. Many times in a playoff soccer game teams go through a feeling out process that leads to slow play at times as the teams try to figure one another out.

“Usually in a game like this they’re all tentative the first 10 minutes, feeling each other out, there was no feeling out,” Kilroy said. “It was up and down end to end the whole first half and most of the second half.”

St. Basil started to build some momentum in the second half as it put a lot pressure on the Dock defense, but that’s when Clements struck again. Clements hit a beautiful shot from 20-plus yards out as she hit just over the St. Basil keeper and under the cross bar.

“Her field vision on the second one was fantastic,” Dock coach Ray Hess said. “(She saw) the keeper was up and put it over top.”

The teams had a bit of different approach but both were effective at times. Dock was aggressive and relentless as it hunted balls down in the midfield while St. Basil was more controlled and methodical as it too found success getting to lose balls and grabbing loose change in the midfield.

“Our game is put the ball on the ground and move it around,” Kilroy said. “We get the ball to the midfielders we get the ball out and move it back in. Dock’s an aggressive team so sometimes they’ll win some 50-50 balls but if you look at the fouls there was a lot of fouls called too and they weren’t call against (us).”

Unfortunately for Dock although its aggressive play led to good plays it also led it taking some fouls, most significantly a red card issued senior defender Sharon Curtis. That led to her ejection from the game and the Pioneers playing a man down for the final 14:37.

Curtis will also be disqualified from district final Wednesday night as Dock survived the dogfight it got from the Panthers, as it will take on The Christian School 5 p.m. at Souderton.

“I’m without Sharon and she’s one of my defenders, so were just going to have to raise our game for that too,” Hess said. “This team I think will rise to the occasion.”

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