The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Fall 2022 State Championship Preview

Three teams in the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery area are playing for state championships this weekend.

Springfield Montco boys soccer will play for a PIAA-3A title Friday while Pennridge girls soccer and Pope John Paul II girls volleyball will compete for 4A and 3A state crowns, respectively, Saturday.

The Rams return to the state finals for the third time since 2018 while the Spartans and Golden Panthers make their first trips to the state championship.

Springfield Montco boys soccer is up first. The District 1 champs face District 3 champion Hershey at 7 p.m. Friday night at Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg.

This has been a season of firsts for the Spartans.

“The first time winning the league in Suburban One, the first time in the district final, the first time winning the district final, the first time going to states,” Peter Schmidt said after Springfield won the District 1 title over Phoenixville two weeks ago. “It’s been a big year for us. It’s been a big year for me as captain. Now I’m getting to lead the guys to states.”

In states, Springfield has a 6-0 win over Lower Dauphin, 3-0 win over Selinsgrove and 2-1 win over Phoenixville to get to the final. Hershey has won its games 2-0, 3-2 and 2-0.

Pope John Paul II girls volleyball plays District 7 champion North Catholic at Cumberland Valley High School Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The District 1 champion Golden Panthers have dropped only two sets during the state playoffs. They swept Carver in the first round, beat Twin Valley in five sets in the quarterfinals and swept Bethlehem Catholic in the semifinals.

“This year, our team is a close knit team. We play as a team, we don’t really rely on one kid to do a lot of the work,” PJP coach Ryan Sell said after the win over Bethlehem Catholic Tuesday. “Our teams have been fairly balanced throughout the years, but I feel this one is just — I mean, we’re so close. I don’t know, we’re good at a lot of positions.”

North Catholic has also dropped just two sets through states, winning 3-0, 3-1 and 3-1, through three rounds.

Pennridge girls soccer will try to win its second state title in three years. The 2020 PIAA-4A champs take on District 3 runner-up Central Dauphin at 4 p.m. at Eagle View Middle School.

Pennridge won all three of its state playoff games by multiple goals. The Rams beat Central 7-0 in the first round, CB West 5-0 in the quarterfinals and Neshaminy 2-0 in the semifinals.

“We always say we didn’t come this far just to come this far,” Pennridge’s Anna Croyle said. “If we’ve come this far and have this kind of opportunity, we want to take advantage of it.

“We’ve done the work to get there, now we want to win.”

Central Dauphin won its three games by a combined score of 6-1, scoring two goals in each round.

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