Council Rock North among Elite Eight in the state

NEWTOWN – Council Rock North has been setting them up and knocking them down ever since the postseason began.

In districts, the Lady Indians got past 19th-seeded Upper Dublin, No. 3 West Chester Rustin, No. 6 WC Henderson and No. 4 Spring-Ford. In states, Rock beat District 2 champ Wallenpaupack, 3-0.

After finishing in third place in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference, North is now among the top eight teams in the state.

How did they do it?

Quite simply, the Indians just go out and give it their all, no matter what onlookers and prognosticators might have to say. Seeding means nothing to this group, says senior co-captain Tori Hill.

“We just come and we want to play our best soccer,” said Hill in a recent interview. “We work hard and we’re not scared of teams. We come out and we want to play

“Seeding is irrelevant to us at this point; it’s anyone’s game – whoever shows up.”

To be fair, second-year head coach Wendell Beres deserves some of the credit for the team’s success in 2015.

“He puts us in good positions; his game plan is very good,” stated junior Kayla Robinson.

The team’s leading scorer, Robinson says she’s having the time of her life this season.

“It’s really exciting because I’m only a junior and I don’t know if next year is going to be like this because we’re losing some very important players.”

But for now, Rock is just enjoying the ride.

North opened states Tuesday, Nov. 10 with a shutout win over District 2 champ Wallenpaupack. Robinson –who leads the Indians with seven goals in the postseason – scored twice and Hill tallied once, helping Rock to a 3-0 win over its first PIAA opponent.

Now, North (16-5-3) must get past SOL Continental Conference and District 1 champion CB East (22-0-1) on Saturday afternoon if it is to extend its season beyond the Elite Eight.

“You hear a lot about them being unbeaten and I admit, CB East is a great team; I give them a lot of credit, they’re very skilled,” said Hill.

“But we’re still not going to come out scared. We’re going to come out strong, do our best and just play soccer – have fun.”

The Lady Patriots’ offense is led by leading scorer Emma Loving (29 goals), who tallied five goals in the team’s first three district playoff games including a hat trick she registered against Wissahickon and the game’s only goal in a D-1 semifinal win over Spring-Ford.

“She is very good but we have Mia Scalamadre, she’s our center-back and she’s one of the best defenders in the league,” said Robinson.

In addition to Scalamandre, North also counters with backfielders Casey McAlister, Brielle Reich and Lauren D’Amelia.

“Our back line – they’re all strong in the back,” added Hill. “And we’re going to play as a team; it takes more than one person to win a game.”

One of the biggest tests the Indians have faced thus far is going to penalty kicks in the District 1 third-place battle with Spring-Ford. Fresh in the minds of the girls who take the field for North was the team’s previous loss to Downingtown West in the D-1 semis.

A duel that also went to penalty kicks, Rock missed a couple of its chances and fell, 3-1, to the Whippets. Bouncing right back vs. Spring-Ford, North made all five PKs and senior goalkeeper Jeri Belardo came up with a crucial save on the Rams’ last shooter to help preserve a 5-4 triumph. Scoring PKs for the Indians were Caitlyn Duffy, Reich, Scalamandre, Hill and D’Amelia.

“The Downingtown West game, going to PKs, that kind of got our nerves out,” explained Hill. “We got used to the atmosphere of taking PKs in front of a big crowd, especially when the circumstances are so important.”

While she missed one vs. D-West, Robinson, a three-year varsity player, has been a valuable component to the team’s offense. The two goals she scored in the PIAA opener brings her to 26 goals on the season, including seven thus far in the postseason [Upper Dublin (3), Henderson (2), Wallenpaupack (2)].

“She is doing awesome; she has a shot like no other person,” stated Hill. “She’s athletic, she’s skilled – we’re very lucky to have her. She’s been a big asset to our team.”

Robinson scored both goals in North’s shutout win over Henderson, a D-1 quarterfinal triumph that got the Indians to states. A win tomorrow at Souderton puts the Indians in the Final Four.

Of course, a loss and it’s all over. Hill has pondered both possible outcomes and says her squad will not be disappointed with a loss.

“We would be very proud of how far we’ve come,” she said. “We were obviously underdogs in almost all of our games. We made a lot of memories this season and were very successful overall.”

Of course, a win would be better for anyone in blue and white. With hard work, anything is possible, says Hill.

“I have high hopes for this team and I think if we really work hard and we play our best soccer, we can take it all the way to Hershey.”

Contact the author at, @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

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