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Suburban One League

Pennridge scores twice in 2nd half, shuts out Souderton for third straight win

FRANCONIA >> Jake Saville created space from a Souderton defender then from just outside the top of the 18-yard box, the Pennridge boys soccer senior midfielder struck a left-footed shot that bounded past the keeper only for it to be denied by the far right post.
Saville’s disappointment, however, was short lived. The ball ricocheted off the woodwork right to the Rams’ Jared Hess, who knocked it into the net as Monday night’s SOL Colonial Division matchup neared the midway point of the second half.
 “I was like ‘Oh, all that hard work,’ and then he was there,” Saville said. “I was so thankful had to give him a nice hug after that.”
Saville had better scoring luck a few minutes after halftime, ending the Rams’ scoreless tie with the host Indians in the sixth minute after the break. Hess’ tally doubled the advantage and Pennridge went on to claim its third straight victory by shutting out Souderton 2-0.
“This is a huge win for us,” Rams coach Pete Valimont said. “Playing here last year it came down to the last 40 seconds so getting that second goal was a nice assurance but overall just a good feel here. It’ll last tonight and then on to the next one tomorrow.”
Pennridge (4-1-1, 2-1-1 division) carried the better play in the first half but despite that a few corners and free kicks, could not generate many quality chances on net. But the Rams found success on a pair of counters after intermission — Saville netting the opener off a Pat Fannon long ball with 34:40 remaining while Hess added his goal at 21:12.
“Look, (Souderton) coach (Matt) Brenner, he’s a fantastic coach, these kids are a solid team, they had us scouted pretty well,” Valimont said. “But we came to a couple of their games so we kind of found some areas that we could hopefully exploit and counterattacks was one of them. And credit to my guys that were able to jump on a couple and be able to find the back of the net.”
The Indians (2-1-2, 0-1-2) created a few dangerous chances after Saville made it 1-0, including hitting the right post but Big Red ended up without a goal for the first time in 2021.
“We knew what we were going to be in for tonight against Pennridge,” Benner said. “Pete has those guys very well structured, they play a good style, they got good talent and athleticism all over the field. I think in the beginning of the game tonight I thought they were a little bit better through midfield than us and we had to make some adjustments, but I thought our second half was much better and it’s unfortunately that we didn’t get the tying goal.”
Adding to a frustrating night for Souderton was goalkeeper Aidan McClure receiving a straight red card in the game’s final minute — getting whistled for a foul ruled inside the box on Saville as the Rams senior tried to get around him to the ball and an empty net. However, the penalty kick by Nicky Williams hit off the left post.
“Every game in the league is crucial and every team in our league is well-coached and disciplined so to lose our senior goalie for our trip to (Central Bucks) West, it stings,” Benner said. “And I feel for Aidan too because Aidan’s not a dirty player, Aiden makes a play on every ball, he’s so athletic and he has to sit that next game.
“We’ve got two underclassmen goalies that we’ve got a lot of confidence in and we’ll gear them up tomorrow in training and we’ll have them ready to go on Wednesday.”
Souderton takes on West at 7 p.m. while the Rams play earlier Wednesday, visiting Central Bucks South at 3:30 p.m.
“It’s a great win,” Saville said. “Souderton has a great squad, a lot of experience coming back and they’re high ranked in the district, so this is a big win at their home at night that puts us at a really good position to get farther up the rankings.”
Since falling to North Penn 2-1 Sept. 14 for their first loss, the Rams have outscored their next three opponents by a combined 12-1 — claiming wins over CB West (5-1) and Southern Lehigh (5-0) before topping Souderton.
“We had a talk after North Penn that we got one stolen from home,” Valimont said. “I thought we could have had a better showing and we gave up two restarts outside the box which is just not, you can’t do that at this level and this league so we’re able to steal one here. This is going to be a chore when we play them at home.”
Pennridge collected Monday’s first goal after working out of its own half, Fannon getting the ball and running through open space in the midfield then lofting a ball into the path of Saville behind the Souderton backline. Saville touched a shot past the outcoming McClure and the ball rolled in at 34:40.
“To be honest it just kind of fell perfect,” Saville said. “And the keeper came so I just tried to slot it as best I could.”
The Indians almost had the equalizer inside the same minute as Saville’s tally but Joe Sirchia shot from in front went left of the net.
A Hess header at the right post was off target while Aiden Castle had another Pennridge chance, ripping a shot across the goal and wide of the far left post.
Souderton got its best opportunity off a dropped ball restart, a defection off a Rams defender sailing the ball to Thomas Smith in front. But Smith’s header hit off the turf then the right post before falling near the left post when Pennridge keeper CJ Dimmick grabbed it.
“Up until tonight we scored in every game and that’s always been our Achilles’ heel at times was getting consistent scoring,” Benner said. “So tonight was the first we’ve been kept off the board and it’s the hardest thing to do is to put it in the net and I thought we created chances, I thought we were knocking on the door.”
The Rams’ second strike began with Troy Thanel racing to win a ball then playing it forward to Saville, who got enough space to unleash his low shot that hit the far right post only to take the fortunate bounce to Hess for his goal at 21:12.

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