BUCKTOWN >> The Perkiomen Valley boys soccer team didn’t receive an invitation to the Pioneer Athletic Conference FInal Four a year ago.
Understandably, spots are not reserved for teams that go 3-9-1 in conference play
This fall, the Vikings haven’t just been requesting a spot at the table. They’re bringing the chairs.
By the end of Thursday night, it just might be a throne.
Perkiomen Valley took step one on their quest for a PAC championship with a 3-1 victory over Upper Perkiomen Tuesday night at Owen J. Roberts.
Perkiomen Valley’s Owen Baker (24) and Upper Perkiomen’s Ethan Barr get tangled while competing for the ball during their PAC semifinal on Oct. 17 at Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
Perkiomen Valley’s Cody Basilio (14) competes for the ball with Upper Perkiomen’s River Lahr (24) during their PAC semifinal on Oct. 17 at Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
The Liberty Division champion and No. 1 seed VIkings advanced to Thursday’s 7 p.m. final against Frontier Division champion Upper Merion, which edged Spring-Ford 3-2 in overtime in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Senior forward Nate Brown opened the scoring just three minutes in before playing creator on the Vikings’ other two goals, scored by Cody Basilio and Matteo LoRegio.
“My goal from the beginning of the year was to win a PAC championship. To make the finals and have the opportunity to win one is huge,” said Brown, in his first year playing for PV after playing his previous falls with FC Delco in MLS Next. “We didn’t take this team lightly. They snuck the No. 1 seed last year so it wasn’t a game to just play around and get a free win. We came out and played well.”
Upper Perkiomen last season was an upset winner in the semifinals over Phoenixville. Perk Valley quieted those thoughts very early with a quick attack and through ball from Andrew Bricker for Brown down the inside right channel and the striker finished across goal.
“I thought we pounced on them early. I think we came into the game with a lot of confidence knowing we could beat them and I think we really showed that,” Brown said.
Perkiomen Valley’s Lawson Finger looks to shoot against Upper Perkiomen during a PAC semifinal on Oct. 17 at Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
Perkiomen Valley’s Andrew Bricker (2) competes for the ball with Upper Perkiomen’s Logan Watkins during their PAC semifinal on Oct. 17 at Owen J. Roberts. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
“Any team can sneak us at this point. We’re 17-1 but it doesn’t matter,” senior left back Lawson Finger said. “We’re in playoffs where we can lose one game and we’re done for. We needed to take the game seriously and make sure we won.”
Perk Valley jumped out to a 2-0 lead six minutes until half when Brown got to the end line and his cross passed through to the far edge of the 18-yard box, received by Basilio who sliced his attempt back into the penalty area but it turned into a lofted shot over Upper Perk goalie Evan Sands.
Upper Perk came out brightly in the second half and cut the deficit to 2-1 on Ethan Barr’s turn and finish into the roof of the net.
Ten minutes later, the Vikings were back in control when LoRegio cut back and slotted his shot low right for the 3-1 advantage.
Upper Perk (13-6) now resets before competing in the DIstrict 1-3A playoffs, which begin Oct. 25. The Tribe are currently ranked No. 3 in District 1-3A.
PV’s turnaround has been the story of the PAC boys soccer season. From a five-win team to 18-1 and ranked No. 3 in District 1-4A, things have fallen into place beautifully for the Vikings.
The addition of a proven scorer like Brown has had a huge impact, just as the growth of PV’s 11-player senior class has.
“Our seniors all got a bunch of playing time last year due to us being a team with such a low number of seniors,” Finger said. “We’re all good, experienced players and everybody wants it. In our senior year we want to make the most out of it.”
NOTES >> Perk Valley led in shots 13-4 and corners 3-0. Sands made 10 saves while PV keeper Aidan Autovino stopped three shots. … PV earned a penalty kick in the second half but Brown’s attempt sailed over the bar. … PV lost starting midfielder Christian Campbell to a season-ending knee injury last week at OJR.