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Council Rock North tops Central Bucks West in PKs to reach District 1 final

DOYLESTOWN – One hundred and 10 minutes of soccer was not enough playing time to decide a victor between No. 7 Central Bucks West and 19th-seeded Council Rock North in a District 1 Class 4A Semifinal Wednesday night, Nov. 1 at War Memorial Field.

But after outplaying the Bucks in regulation, the Indians came out on top 3-2 in penalty kicks. Senior Jon Pugh, sophomore Jeremy Smithline and junior Zach Saifer tallied for CR North while the Rock’s senior netminder Eddie Mancinelli made saves on the first, second and last attempts by CB West.

“They played better than us tonight, top to bottom. I’d say the play was 65 percent them and 35 percent us,” admitted CB West head coach Stefan Szygiel. “We were always on the back foot tonight.”

“We wore down in the end and they were better in possession.

“They had us chasing a lot and they were the better team tonight.”

The Indians advance to the District 1 championship where they will take on top seed Conestoga, a 3-0 winner over No. 13 Kennett. The D1 finale is set for 7 pm Saturday night at Garnet Valley.

The Bucks – who knocked off No. 2 seed Lower Merion in a D1 quarterfinal Oct. 28 in PKs – fall to the playback round where they will take on Kennett this Saturday in a battle for third place.

CR North outshot West, 15-3.

“We moved the ball really well, side to side and up and down the field,” CR North head coach Joe Stackhouse commented.

Bucks keeper Dylan Smith stopped 14 of the Indians’ shots and another hit the post.

“He kept us in the game. Again in PKs, he made saves,” added Szygiel. “We just didn’t have his back tonight.

“We had his back the other day in PKs. We were able to bury a couple after he made big saves.

“He made big saves again tonight; we just didn’t convert.”

Together with a backline that features, Smithline, Saifer, senior Akash Shah and junior T.J. Grube, Mancinelli has yet to give up a goal in regulation in four district playoff games and three overtime periods.

“Eddie is stone cold to begin with,” quipped Stackhouse. “Sometimes, I wonder if he’s got a pulse.”

Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference champions at 10-1-1, the Indians fell to number 19 in the D1 playoff bracket after going 1-5 in non-league play.

“I thought coming in, we’d make some noise based on what we knew what we could do,” said Stackhouse. “And we did it.”

“We played three of the state’s top 10. We’ve played all state qualifiers so we prepped for this.”

The Indians missed a solid chance to score in the second half when senior Conor O’Donnell hit the left side post in the 58th minute of play. A key matchup in the game was O’Donnell vs. CB West junior Carson Snyder.

“Their number 11 was a tough matchup and Carson was on him a good amount,” said Szygiel.

The Bucks’ best opportunity to score came with 10 minutes left in regulation. Snyder banged a shot off CR North Keeper Eddie Mancinelli that went high in the air. With Mancinelli out of position, Snyder had the open net. But by the time the ball came crashing down to earth, the keeper was back in position to make the save.

“He was phenomenal; he’s been phenomenal all year for us,” said Stackhouse, of Mancinelli. “They had a couple of very good chances and Eddie came up real well.”

North’s best chance to score in the first half came in the 28th minute when senior Dylan Akay got a foot onto the end of a free kick from 30 yards out from O’Donnell. Akay slid into the keeper as he got the shot off.

The Indians outshot CB West 8-5 in the first half, though seven of the Rock’s shots were on frame and only one shot by the Bucks was on goal.

Rock North toppled Upper Dublin, North Penn and Wissahickon to reach the semifinal and earn a berth in states for the second consecutive season. In a 1-0 win over the Trojans in the D1 quarterfinals, it was CRN junior Sean Finneyfrock who tallied the golden goal in overtime.

Sean also scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Upper Dublin. Senior Ryan Pave and O’Donnell registered goals for the Rock in its 3-0 triumph over North Penn.

The third place team in the SOL Continental Conference, CB West received a bye in the first round of districts after earning the seventh seed in the tournament. The Bucks topped No. 10 seed CB East 3-2 in the Round of 16 and blanked No. 2 Lower Merion 1-0 in a D1 quarterfinal matchup.

NOTES: Both teams were missing players. CR North midfielders Carter Steckbeck and Justin Scharf were among the walking wounded for the Indians. CB West junior Reed Sturza was carried off the field midway through the second half. CR North senior Sam Roberts was also injured though he was able to hobble off the field.

Contact Steve Sherman at or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

Central Bucks West 0, Council Rock North 0 (CR North wins PKs, 3-2)
(Nov. 1 at War Memorial Field)
CB WEST (16-5)                 0 0 0 0 – 0
CR NORTH (15-6-1)          0 0 0 0 – 0
First-half goals: none.
Second-half goals: none.

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