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Plymouth Whitemarsh edges Owen J. Roberts, advances to District 1-3A title game

PLYMOUTH MEETING >> It got an entirely different style game Tuesday.

In the wake of Friday’s offense-oriented 5-4 victory over Souderton, Owen J. Roberts found itself in a defensive tussle with Plymouth Whitemarsh Tuesday. Both teams were stalwart on defense, but the Colonials mustered enough offense to come away with a 1-0 triumph in their District 1 Class AAA semifinal.

Ava Borkowski accounted for all the game’s scoring with 24:46 left in the second half. Around her tally, PW (20-1) weathered OJR’s pressure to advance to Saturday’s district championship duel with Downingtown West.

“We were a little too defensive, for sure,” OJR head coach Amy Hoffman said. “Really through the game, we had possessions. But as many opportunities as we had, we didn’t move the ball and convert passes.”

Owen J. (20-3) finished the game with a significant 14-9 edge in corner shots. It went 8-2 in the first half, seeing a miss on a corner at the 24:10 mark.

“I think our defense plays such a big role in games,” Borkowski said. “I think that was really good for us mentally, when we were getting calls against us.”

The second-seeded Colonials cashed in on one of their corners for the game’s lone goal. After Livia Truong’s shot hit off the pads of Roberts goalie Cayden Jarvis, Borkowski collected the rebound and put it in the cage for what ended up being the game’s lone score.

It gave the Colonials a leg up in the wake of Friday’s 2-1 quarterfinal-round win over Council Rock South. They made it hold up, even with Owen J. making four drives inside the final 10 minutes.

“I’ve been saying through the season our attack has been good,” PW head coach Charise Halteman said. “But our defense held today.”

The third-seeded Wildcats saw the shot off a corner at the 9:14 mark of the second hit a cage post. Getting the ball back with 4:10 left, a corner play at 3:11 ended with the ball getting lofted to the top netting on the box.

OJR took possession of the ball two more times in the final two minutes, but the home team held it off with stalwart defensive play of its own. Goalie Sarah Trash had 12 saves while facing 16 shots.

“The shutout was huge,” Halteman said. “Our defense hasn’t been tested lately.”

Cayden Jarvis ended up with eight goalie saves for Owen J. off 15 PW shots.

“We had options, but we weren’t executing,” Hoffman said. “When you get to the teams at this point in the season, you have to do it.”

For Plymouth Whitemarsh, the return to the district’s big-school title game is a long time coming. The Colonials’ last appearance at that level was 2004.

“We’re excited about it,” Borkowski said.

OJR, in turn, will play Pioneer Athletic Conference nemesis Perkiomen Valley on its home turf Friday. The fourth-seeded Vikings fell to the eighth-seeded Whippets 4-2 Tuesday.

NOTES >> Owen J. controlled the ball at PW’s end for the better part of a six-minute span in the first half, from the 16- to 10-minute span. … The ‘Cats came up empty on a couple shots around the 5:40 mark of the first half. … OJR and PV split their Liberty Division meetings during the regular season. The Vikings posted a 3-2 victory on Sept. 4, and the Wildcats answered on Sept. 25 by a similar score. Both teams sustained one-point losses to Upper Perkiomen during the PAC’s Final Four playoffs: PV 1-0 in the semifinal round Oct. 15, OJR 2-1 in the Oct. 7 title game.

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