Boys Soccer All-Delco: Cresswell, Kaplan backstopped Haverford School

In addition to Player of the Year Joe Pariano of the Haverford School, the rest of the All-Delco team includes:

Connor Cresswell, Haverford School: Just a junior, Cresswell is already on the All-Delco team for a second time. His steady goalkeeping was a big reason for the Fords’ recovery from a two-win season in 2021 to the Inter-Ac crown in 2022. The Fords won 14 games and went 7-2-1 to win the Inter-Ac, allowing 10 goals in 10 league games. That included a pair of 1-0 wins over Penn Charter, the second in overtime, plus a 2-0 blanking of Episcopal Academy and a 3-1 win over Germantown Academy that clinched the title and avenged an earlier loss. Cresswell posted four shutouts in league play and was named to the first team All-Inter-Ac for the second consecutive season.

Thomas Kaplan, Haverford School: A junior center back, Kaplan had a knack for delivering clutch goals off set pieces. He scored five times on the season, including in a loss to Conestoga and twice in claiming the neighborhood rivalry with Haverford High. He also had an assist. Defensively, he anchored the defense that allowed just 10 goals in 10 league games and orchestrated the worst-to-first turnaround to win the Inter-Ac. Kaplan was named to the first team All-Inter-Ac by league coaches.

Radnor’s Jacob Shalev, left, battles for possession with Marple Newtown’s Lucien Burger during a game in 2021. (PETE BANNAN – DAILY TIMES)

Nick Dignazio, Strath Haven: The senior center back is also an All-Delco defenseman in hockey, and his ability to read the game and find spaces or matchups to exploit translates across sports. Paired with an outstanding worth ethic and a knack for positioning, Dignazio ended up with five goals and five assists in 14 games this season for the eight-win Panthers. He tallied assists in wins over Marple Newtown and Garnet Valley and scored twice in a wild 7-4 win over Penn Wood. He and his sister, Annie, are both All-Delcos this fall in soccer.

Jacob Shalev, Radnor: The winger was the focal point of the Raptors’ midfield creativity, with his ability to beat defenders one-v-one and cross quality service into the box. He helped Radnor win 14 games before falling in the District 1 Class 3A semifinals, a season that included a win at Conestoga. Shalev tallied four goals and four assists, and his movement in the Raptors’ tactical system was vital to open lanes for others. Shalev set up the game-winner in a 1-0 decision with Penncrest, had a goal and an assist in beating Marple Newtown and tallied in league wins over Garnet Valley and Upper Darby.

Okafor Norkeh, Haverford: The senior midfielder was one of the more technically skilled players in the Central League, with his passing ability, movement off the ball and sheer difficulty of trying to dispossess him. Norkeh scored two goals to go with seven assists, exploiting his connection with Sean Boyle by playing him service through the lines into the path of the forward. His one-v-one ability also opened space for teammates. Among his goals was the only marker in a 2-1 loss against Radnor. Norkeh is fielding Division I and Division II interest.

David Knox, Episcopal Academy: Knox was the senior string-puller for the Churchmen, helping them to a fast start before running out of steam down the stretch in the Inter-Ac. He tallied three goals and nine assists, as EA’s chief creative force in midfield. That included setting up Ryan Sewell for his first goal of the year to cap the season with a 1-0 win over Haverford School on rivalry day. Knox tallied two assists in a win over Holy Ghost Prep and scored off a direct free kick to fuel a 2-0 win over Penn Charter. A second-team All-Inter-Ac selection, Knox has committed to Division III Drew University.

Bobbo Chambers, Sun Valley: Just about everything the Vanguards accomplished in a 5-win season went through the senior midfielder. The Vanguards scored 33 goals; Chambers scored 13 and assisted on 13, with a hand in 78.8 percent of the team’s offense. He earned a spot on the All-Ches-Mont American team for the second straight year, leading the league in assists and finishing second in goals and total points. He had three goals and two assists in a 5-1 win over Oxford, set up both goals in a 2-0 win over Springfield and added two goals and one assist in beating Chichester. Chambers is the first Sun Valley All-Delco in the sport since Brett Hollenback in 2013.

Sean Boyle, Haverford: Last year’s Player of the Year is on the All-Delco team for a second straight season. All the attention his sensational junior season inspired meant Boyle was repeatedly man-marked during the run of play or bracketed with double or triple coverage on set pieces, but he still worked his way to 15 goals. He added two assists, though the Fords finished with a sub-.500 record. Boyle tied the program’s single-scoring record with 20 goals in 2021. He’s a two-time All-Central pick and was on the first team All-Southeast PA this season. Boyle will continue his career at Bucknell.

Haverford’s Okafor Norkeh, left, battles with Strath Haven’s Noah Plunkett. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

Brayan Chavez-Lopez, Radnor: The junior forward was one of the leading scorers for the Raptors, tallying five goals and three assists for the top seed in the District 1 Class 3A field. His movement off the ball and creativity with the ball opened space for others, as the Raptors tended to spread the goal-scoring burden around evenly. Chavez-Lopez tallied a hat trick against Penn Wood and scored in league wins over Strath Haven and Marple Newtown. The junior was a first-team All-Central selection.

Yoni Lindo, Ridley: The electric forward drew praise from coaches across the area for his speed and finishing ability, compiling 21 goals for a team that won 11 games. Lindo added five assists on the season. He tallied hat tricks early in the season against Chichester and Garnet Valley (the latter a 3-1 win) and scored in a 2-1 loss to Radnor. Lindo is the Green Raiders’ first team All-Delco in boys soccer since goalie Pat O’Neill in 2013.

Eddie Jones, Episcopal Academy: The senior prospered in the move to center forward, after dabbling there in the past around a central midfield role. His combination of midfield skill and the size of a 6-3 frame led to 14 goals and two assists for the Churchmen, who won 11 games but went just 5-5 to finish fifth in the Inter-Ac. Five of his goals came in league play, as Jones was omnipresent up top all season. He scored braces in beating PIAA foes Devon Prep and Holy Ghost Prep, then scored the only goal in downing Radnor. He converted a pair of PKs to beat Malvern Prep and set up Dylan Venoenchea’s winner against Germantown Academy. An All-Inter-Ac pick, Jones has signed to play lacrosse at Villanova.

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