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Pennridge gives valiant effort in District 1-AAA 1st round loss to Downingtown West

DOWNINGTOWN >> To say that Pennridge was the underdog in Monday’s PIAA District One Class AAA first round match up with Downingtown West would be an understatement.

Although the Rams lost the game 2-0, the effort of the Ram defense in particular goalkeeper Carlie Wingate, who stood on her head for 18 saves in the contest.

“Carlie starts everything back there, she does not let our defenders slack,” Pennridge coach Becky Spahr said. “Not only does she hold them accountable but she holds herself accountable. I think she has like an 87 percent save rate on the season and today it was like 95.”

The performance of Wingate cannot be overstated. The senior, along with solid play in front, held the Whippets scoreless over the final 42 minutes after Claudia Jaszczak scored West’s second goal of the game at the 12:27 mark in the first half as the Rams also survived 25 corner opportunities including 12 in the second half.

“We’ve been used to having a lot of defensive corners, not quite that many,” Spahr said. “Our defensive corner unit is (solid).”

In addition to her goal, Jaszczak helped lead an offensive barrage for the Whippets as she continuously using her great speed to run the ball the down field. Jaszczak got excellent support from senior forward Becca Inzer as she to put West in great offensive positions.

“She has played every position for us from back to mid to forward,” said West coach Liz Morrow of Inzer. “She’s our leader, she’s a captain and she definitely puts forth a full 60 minutes.”

Pennridge looked loose and ready to go from the opening tap. The Rams never looked tight, nervous or timid as they went head to head with the Ches-Mont powerhouse.

“We play in a very good league so the attitude was if we play our best we can play with anybody,” Spahr said. “I really think there were 10 minutes in the first half that we fell off and that’s when they took advantage. Other than those 10 minutes we fought the whole way through and stayed with them.”

Despite the Rams’ season coming to an end with a loss the experience gained by underclassmen getting a taste of district playoff action should prove huge as Pennridge looks to build a program for the future. Monday’s game was also a testament to how Pennridge has come as a team as well as it went from a two-win team a year ago to an 11-win team with a district appearance this year.

“Pennridge has never really had a program where we’ve been consistent for years and years,” Spahr said. “I want to create consistency in the program. I want to make it where every year we’re getting new freshmen that are ready to play, we’ve got seniors that are ready to lead and that just turns over from year to year.”

For West its season continues Wednesday as it takes on Mount St Joseph, which is coming off a 2-0 win over Avon Grove. Morrow and her crew acknowledge there are some small things it must clean up in order to make a deep run through the district tournament.

“We still lack a little bit on the drive in the offensive circle,” Morrow said. “We can’t stress enough to girls that we need to finish because Wednesday we might not get that many opportunities.”

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