Gedek’s OT goal sends North Penn past CB South, into District 1-4A semifinals

TOWAMENCIN >> Dominik Gedek sees the North Penn boys soccer team having become a stronger side  playing through the pressures of overtime.

“It’s stressful but I think we have the experience of winning games in OT and that’s our advantage,” “We’ve been their many times and we know that we can win.”

The Knights have been pushed past regulation in each of the first two rounds in the District 1-4A tournament. But so far they have not cracked from the late tension.

After six-seeded North Penn and No. 14 Central Bucks South finished 80 minutes of their quarterfinal contest even at a goal apiece, Gedek set off another Knight extra-time celebration. The senior forward drove through the center of the field then put a shot in off the far left post in the sixth minute of the first overtime, giving host North Penn a 2-1 victory over the Titans.

“We had the momentum coming, we just knew we going to score at one point,” Gedek said. “We had a lot of chances, even Ryan McCann had a great shot. And I knew at that point I had to drive cause Josh Jones made a run to the left and he took all three defenders with him which opened up a gap for me in the middle.

“I knew when I had that open slot I just had to shoot it. I went bottom left where the keeper had that spot open and just happy it went in.”

Jones had the opening tally off a long ball from Ryan Mindick with 24:01 left in the second half. South, however, pulled level just 2:22 later when AJ Peev battled through the NP defense to rip a shot into the back of the net.

In overtime, the Knights got on the front foot and stayed there. Ryan McCann came close to netting the deciding goal but was denied by a diving save from South keeper Ryan Gross. Gedek finally struck for the winner at 9:11 as North Penn bested its SOL Colonial Division rival for the third time this season.

“I really give so much credit – that team, I thought the winner of this game, would go a long way, could go a long way,” Knights coach Chris DePeppe said. “But I thought it was a tossup I really did even though we beat them twice they were very tightly-contested games, two overtime games, all one-goal games.”

Defending 4A district and state champ North Penn (11-2-0), which opened districts Monday by edging Perkiomen Valley 1-0 thanks to JoJo Dalwadhi’s overtime goal, advances to Tuesday’s semifinal round to host No. 7 Neshaminy, which beat No. 15 Pennsbury 3-0.

“We knew they were going to be in it for the duration tonight and the duration happened to be a little longer than we thought,” DePeppe said. “It’s just exciting to be moving on.”

Central Bucks South, which made the postseason for the first time since 2015 – and won its first district game since that same season – ended its 2020 campaign at 6-6-0.

“That feels like a championship match the way it was played,” DePeppe said. “I give so much to them – they’re a tough team, physical, very good in the back. So I’m sorry for their seniors that it ended that way but they have nothing to be ashamed of that’s for sure. It was a proud effort.”

Thursday’s win put North Penn at 14-0-1 in its last 15 matches with South – the Titans last win in the series coming in 2013.

Gedek’s overtime goal began with a midfield tackle by Alex Stewart, with Gedek collecting the loose ball and driving up the field. Jones’ diagonal run towards the left side opened a lane for Gedek, who burst into the 18-yard box and with his right foot laced a low shot that knocked off the far left post and in.

“Started driving and then when I saw the defenders move to the left I knew that I could have that,” Gedek said. “So I know with my pace I can take the ball forward past the defenders. And just knew I had to shoot at one point – I’m so glad it went in.”

Jones gave North Penn the 1-0 lead in the 56th minute, the senior Louisville commit chasing down a long ball sent behind the South backline by Mindick and arching a volley over the keeper into the goal.

“I forget what happened, it was a broken play so wound up on the right wing and I saw that they weren’t really paying attention,” Jones said. “I think they might of forgot about me for like half a second. And I saw Ryan pick his head up and he just played the ball, like we didn’t even say anything it was just eye contact and played a great ball in and brought it down and finished.”

North Penn and South’s two prior meetings this season ended 1-0 in the Knights’ favor. But Peev made sure that scoreless did not repeat Thursday. After cutting away from a group of defenders, the South junior chase back down the ball then tumbled as he knocked a shot into middle of the net at 21:39.

“As soon as we scored, the first thinking was AJ and should we make a change,” DePeppe said. “It was a little bit early and that’s what great players do though, he got three guys on him and he gets the goal. That could of taken the air out of us so I’m so proud of the way we battled.”

Jones had the best chance to score in the opening half, his header off a Nate Kim cross from the right flank denied by a superb save by Gross, who snagged the ball with a dive to his right.

“He plays club with me, Ryan, and he’s great, going to Lehigh,” Jones said. “So credit to him for that save, that was big time.”

North Penn got a pregame pep talk from former Knight Carter Houlihan, who is now at Lafayette after helping lead NP to the state crown in 2019.

“Carter came up during warmups before we started playing and gave a little speech to the whole team,” Jones said. “Just saying like we’ve been here before, we know what’s expected, just go out and do our best. And did that tonight.”

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