CONSHOHOCKEN >> A historic season for Germantown Academy ended with a loss Wednesday afternoon.
The third-seeded Patriots came out on the wrong end of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) championship game, 4-2, against the top-seeded Kiski School at the Proving Grounds.
“It’s always difficult playing a match when the only thing you have is tape,” GA coach Kurt Wetzel said. “However, we knew what they were when they came in. They were tall, they were big, they were strong, they were fast. They played good soccer just like we did.”
“It’s the first time in school history we’ve ever been to something like this,” GA senior Sean Lipschutz said. “I think we should definitely be proud going up against an opponent that has a lot of historic success, even in these tournaments.”
The teams played to a 1-1 tie in the first half and that score held until the 58th minute. Kiski took lead before doubling their advantage to 3-1 five minutes later.
The Patriots kept fighting. Lipschutz found Tyler Weiss for a goal in the 74th minute to get GA within one, 3-2.
The Inter-Ac champs got the ball inside Kiski’s 18 with a chance to tie, but couldn’t put a shot on net. The Cougars sealed their victory with a 79th minute score to go ahead by two goals, 4-2.
“I was proud of the boys, proud of the fight, bringing it back to 3-2,” Wetzel said. “Their coach was nervous – you could hear it on the sideline, but he got his boys re-focused and they did well. They deserved the win.”
“We never lay down,” Lipschutz added. “You can look back at the beginning of our Inter-Ac season. We lost our first two games, really tough 1-0 losses, but we came back and won them all out and ended up winning the league. That showed again in this game that we never give up. We just keep fighting until the very last minute.”
The first half was even both on the scoreboard and to the eye test. GA put four shots on goal and earned four corner kicks while Kiski put four shots on goal and earned one corner.
Kiski took the first lead of the game when Donavan Phillip scored in the 20th minute. His left-footed strike hit the crossbar and went straight down, deflecting off the keeper and into the net.
Lipschutz tied the game six minutes later. From the right side of the goal, his shot went through traffic in front of the net and in. The senior and his teammates raced to the far sideline to celebrate with the GA student section.
Kiski went ahead for good in the 58th minute when Sebastian Porcella scored. Five minutes later, Phillip found the back of the net again to give the Cougars a two-goal advantage.
“(Phillip) is a really talented player and we knew coming in,” Wetzel said. “We only got to see a little of him, but we knew he was going to be tough to deal with. We knew he was left-footed. We knew what he brought. When he steps off and gets a good shot off, there’s not much you can do. He had a couple of cannons today. Even with a guy in his space, in his way, he was still getting the ball off. He’s a talented young man, a good soccer player.”
This GA group has come a long way in the last four seasons under Wetzel. In his first season in 2018, the team went 3-14-2. They followed that up with an 11-8-2 record in 2019 and 2-1 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020. This year they went 17-3 with an Inter-Ac title and state championship game appearance.
“How can you complain about a 17-3 season where the two games you lose are 1-0 losses in league to one of the toughest leagues in the state,” Wetzel said after describing the season as magical. “Then you lose in the state final… I told the boys in five or six years when they’re getting inducted into GA’s Hall of Fame they’ll look back on this fondly because they’re the ones who rebuilt the program.”
“It’s been really crazy watching all of our young team that we were (in 2018) grow up and mature into a great team and great individual soccer players going on to college,” Lipschutz said. “It’s been a great season.”