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All-in effort carries CB West past Pennridge

DOYLESTOWN >> All Kate Weyer had to do was not do the thing she normally does every time.

The Central Bucks West girls soccer team’s freshman defender admits to a habit of often hitting her shots too hard and sending them over the crossbar of the goal. So when a rebound fell tantalizing in her path in the box Thursday night against Pennridge, Weyer knew she couldn’t do it again.

Weyer’s hit was on the mark this time, providing the winning tally as the Bucks handed the Rams their first loss in a terrific 2-1 game at War Memorial Field.

“I was waiting for Riley (Corona) to get it because she had her back to goal, but it came out and I told myself, ‘Kate, lean over it and hit it,’” Weyer said. “I always hit those over. I was just trying to keep it simple and hit it off the post or right in the goal.”

It was a dream finish for West (6-1-0, 6-1-0 SOL Colonial) on a night that began with a dream start and saw a whole lot of guts, heart and tenacity on display from the two teams atop the SOL Colonial table. Surprisingly, it was only the first meeting of the squads this fall as their Sept. 29 matchup got rained out and will be made up on Oct. 27.

West defender Courtney Moylan said the extra wait to finally the Rams (7-1-0, 6-1-0 SOL Colonial) only served to help her team build anticipation. While there’s no easy fixture in the Colonial, the Rams and Bucks have delivered some classics in recent years.

Taylor Moyer got West off to an excellent start as the junior co-captain ran under a long ball from Mariella Neri, slipped behind the Pennridge defense and slipped home a one-v-one finish just six minutes into the contest.

“This game is always our hardest game, every season, they’re just such a talented team,” Moyer said. “Every girl on their team is so good, so we knew we had to come out, play our hardest and put everything we had out on the field.”

Pennridge responded very well to being scored on early and the Rams midfield really set a commanding tone in the first half. Fittingly, that group provided the equalizer when freshman Liv Grenda played a give-and-go with senior Lindsey DeHaven, who isolated herself and finished with 24 minutes to go before half.

There was no shortage of chances for Pennridge, with seven different players putting a shot on goal but a definitive lack of goals to show for it. While the Rams played well enough to win, the objective is to have more goals than the other team and Pennridge didn’t get that part of the equation solved on Thursday.

“We did everything right except put the ball in the back of the net more times than them,” Pennridge coach Audrey Anderson said. “This is a lesson. Every game is going to be tough and we have to learn from those things. Sometimes, I think our teams get a little bit comfortable, think the win is going to come and make a mistake. The other team capitalizes then we’re left panicking.”

Pennridge peppered West with eight shots on goal, at least that many more that either went high or wide and six second half corner kicks. Certainly, the Rams would like a few of those shots back but the Bucks defense was a rather large factor in holding that potent offense in check.

After halftime, the Bucks committed to evening out the midfield turf war while the backline showed plenty of willpower to keep Pennridge from finding a connection in front of goal. Keeper Jules Broskey, making just her second start, made seven saves and numerous other solid plays.

In front of her, Weyer, Moylan, Ava Longo, Keely McGlone and Bella Centenera just kept winning challenges.

“We really picked up on what they wanted to do,” Moylan said. “I give Ava Longo a lot of credit. She doesn’t usually play back there with me, but she saved my butt a lot of times and with Keely back there directing us, we kept them out of the box. Also Jules, our keeper, she played amazing tonight.”

In the first half, DeHaven had plenty of room to make trailing runs out of her holding midfield spot into the attack and the senior chalked an impressive win percentage on head balls. West adjusted a few things, including having McGlone play a little higher up and Neri took the challenge to heart to get up and win back some headers.

Moyer said the Rams had a pattern offensively and the co-captain credited her teammates for picking up on them and working to disrupt them.

Weyer, the left back, and right back Centenera had a good battle with the Rams wingers and fullbacks as well. The freshman said if she got beat, her focus was to recover to the middle and back up the central defenders as they stepped up to challenge the ball.

“We feel like we have to do whatever is needed to keep the ball out of the box,” Moylan said. “We know if we make a mistake, another of our defenders will be there to help us. If we step strong, the worst that will come of it is another of our defenders getting it.”

As time dwindled down, the Bucks won a free kick just over the midfield line. Moyer, who takes almost all the team’s set pieces, lined up behind the ball on the right flank and drove her service right into the center of the box.

Pennridge keeper Sierra Shaeffer was able to get up and punch the initial ball away, but its path took it away from any defender able to clear it and right down to Weyer with a one-time look at goal.

From there, it was about 90 seconds of frantic defending as the Bucks just kept kicking the ball out and burning precious seconds as they held on to their lead and finally, the result.

“I just told myself ‘they can not get by me,’” Weyer said. “Everything needed to go away or just get out of play.”

District 1 finally announced its playoff plans but despite a good season thus far, the Bucks entered play as the No. 14 team in the 4A rankings with just the top 16 getting to the postseason. A win over Pennridge, which entered as the No. 4 team, would go a long way but far from sealed anything up for West.

The teams will get their second meeting on Oct. 27 at Pennridge. Both have major hurdles to get past before getting there, but that game could have a lot on the line when it comes time to play it.

“We did a really good job of being positive, staying together as a team and if someone lost the ball, we hustled to get it back,” Moylan said. “That’s just how we won.”

CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 2, PENNRIDGE 1
PENNRIDGE 1 0 – 1
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 1 1 – 2
Goals: CBW – Taylor Moyer, Kate Weyer (Moyer); P – Lindsey DeHaven (Liv Grenda).

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