HORSHAM >> All season long Jack Miller has looked forward to setting his teammates up to make a big play.
Tuesday night at Hatboro-Horsham High School was no different for the senior midfielder who played a pivotal role in his team’s 2-0 win over Fleetwood, the fourth place finisher from District 3, in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A state boys soccer tournament.
In the 17th minute Miller threw the raucous student section into a frenzy when his throw-in found the head of Andrew Boujoukos. The senior nodded the ball towards the net and wound up hitting a Fleetwood player — who knocked the ball into his own goal to give Radnor the 1-0 lead.
“I looked at Calvin (Congleton) and saw he was covered on both sides, so I looked at Andrew (Boujoukos) and saw he had a smaller defender on him,” Miller said. “I decided to throw to him and he got a really good flick and it went off somebody’s head so it was just perfect.
“I have been playing attack midfielder most of the season and I love playing the through ball more than scoring,” added Miller. “I love watching the ball go beyond the defense and seeing what my forwards can do. It’s as good a feeling as scoring.”
Radnor coach Joe Caruolo added, “That’s the name of the game. Jack is a selfless player and the game is really beautiful when you set other people up. Jack plays the game like a man and when you get older you look to set other people up and not just go, go, go. It’s a pleasure to have someone like Jack setting other players up.”
Holding a tenuous 1-0 lead and Fleetwood putting on a relentless charge, the Raiders got the cushion they were aiming for when junior Ryan Peter collected a set piece in the box delivered by Congleton and hammered it home to give Radnor the 2-0 lead in the 57th minute.
“I saw the ball up in the air, I was reading it and backpedaling. I saw nobody was going for it so I just followed our philosophy all season of being aggressive and went for the ball and good things happen,” Peter said.
With the win, Radnor becomes just the fourth team in school history to win a state playoff game (eight state tournament appearances with the last one coming in 2004) and will advance to play Gettysburg, the second-place finisher from District 3, on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
“I love these seniors,” said Peter. “They are my best friends, my family and I will do anything for them. They have put together a great season.”
“Tonight is a special moment,” said Caruolo. “There have only been four (Radnor) teams to win a state playoff game so it’s nice to not only re-write history but moreso with these kids and see them continue a great season.”