RED HILL >> Upper Perkiomen’s only overtime game this season did not have a happy ending.
That changed Tuesday night, when Upper Perkiomen hosted West Chester Henderson in a District 1 Class AA playoff opener. It capped a happy — albeit soggy — outing for the Indians, who edged the Warriors, 2-1.
AiYi Young ended the rain-soaked affair with 5:17 left in the 15-minute OT frame, converting Colleen Creneti’s pass off a corner stroke. It elevated Upper Perk (17-4) to 1-1 in overtime scenarios, having previously been edged 2-1 by Perkiomen Valley.
“This is our first overtime victory,” UP head coach Jamie Warren said, “and it feels good.”
Henderson (9-10) sent the game into extras by scoring within two minutes of the Tribe breaking the 0-0 standoff. It had an OT victory to its credit during the regular season.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top,” Warrior head coach Courtney Evans said. “But this was still our best game of the year. It shows our growth.”
The Tribe, coming off a Pioneer Athletic Conference playoff championship last week, controlled the action in Henderson’s end of the field for much of regulation and overtime. It had 15 corner opportunities, and one apparent goal at the nine-minute mark of the second half nullified by the ball not being touched by a UP player within the circle.
“It was a little frustrating,” Young said. “But we gathered ourselves up and regrouped during time outs.”
UP’s first goal came off a corner play, Young setting up Bella Carpenter for the conversion at the eight-minute mark. The Indians’ lead ended at 6:03 when Lauren Franco scored off Gianna Cugino’s pass during a corner play.
“We huddled up in a group before the overtime,” Young said, “and we told ourselves this was not like PV. We worked in overtime.”
The third-seeded Tribe outshot 14th seed Henderson 9-3 and saw its guests take just one corner on the night. But the Warriors showed their mettle at the defensive end, keeping UP from cashing in on more of its opportunities.
“These girls are not quitters,” Evans said. “They work 100 percent. Everytime they step out on the field, they set goals and hold each other accountable.”
Upper Perk’s defense also stood out. One notable performance came from senior Tori Williams on the right side.
“In the second half,” Warren observed, “the right side closed down. Tori pushed up and made that happen.”
UP had one last corner opportunity in regulation time, but it was unable to convert. That forced seven-player overtime, and left Young to decide the matter.
“It’s stressful,” the senior said. “There’s so much pressure.”
Lynnsi Joyce had a two-save night in goal for the Indians while Henderson keeper Abby Martin turned away seven UP shots.
The Indians now move on to Thursday’s quarterfinal round against sixth-seeded Wisahickon, a 2-1 winner over Harriton in other first-round action. With five AA teams advancing to states, a win over the Trojans will extend Upper Perk’s post-season up to the next level.
The game started 10 minutes later than scheduled, a result of the Henderson bus getting caught in traffic. “The girls knew to stay focused and deal with it,” Evans said. … Warren praised her team’s defensive cohesion during the game. “We play good defense as a unit,” she said. “We felt like we’d be able to stop them.”