Downingown >> It’s not uncommon for Downingtown West’s girls soccer coach Wes Davis to win big-playoff games. His resume includes multiple district and state titles. However it’s rare for him to collect history in an opening-round playoff game.
After the No. 10 seeded Whippets defeated No. 23 seeded West Chester East 1-0 in the first round of the District 1 Class AAA playoffs on Tuesday evening, Davis captured his 100th-career win on his home turf, DiSerafino Stadium.
“It means I’ve been around for a while,” Davis said with a smile. “I have been fortunate to have some really good teams over the years. I thanked the girls tonight after the win. I was happy they were a part of it because they’re a really special group.”
They will now advance and play No. 7 seeded Strath Haven in the second round on Thursday.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, Davis talked about how tight games against strong teams would only make his team better for the postseason. He was right.
The Whippets (13-5) controlled most of the first half against their Ches-Mont League National Division foe, outshooting them 6-3, but the game remained scoreless heading into halftime.
“We just knew we had to keep up the intensity in the second half,” senior captain Melana Paternoster said. “From the beginning of the season Wes always told us we have that hustle and effort and we knew we had to keep that up the entire game.”
The message was received loud and clear. 29 seconds into the final frame West’s sophomore Gina Peraino spun around in the middle of the field and blasted a shot from 30-yards out. The ball rang off the center of the crossbar and banked right into the back of the net.
“I looked up (the field) and I had this feeling I was going to score,” Peraino said. “I was open so I figured I might as well take the shot.”
The Vikings (11-8) would not go away. With just under 27 minutes left in the game, their offense was able to generate a promising rush. Despite a couple of opportunities, the best they came up with was a ball that hit the right post.
“It came down to who scored first,” East’s coach Shannon Mueller said. “We had some chances towards the end, but we weren’t able to capitalize.”
Just like the regular-season matchup, West only needed one goal to sink West Chester East.
“It was a great-team effort tonight ,” senior captain Tessa Veurink said. “Everyone played a part in this win. It’s also great we were able to get Coach Davis’s 100th-career win.”
Last week the Whippets faced Strath Haven on the final day of the regular season, dropping the nonleague affair 1-0.
“We’ll both have a book on the other team,” Davis said. “It’s a matter of the girls taking care of business on the field. That’s why you play good teams in the regular season. The regular season prepares you for the postseason. Hopefully we will be ready.”
For the Vikings their season concludes with the defeat.
“I had a great group of seniors,” Mueller said. “I’m really proud of the way this entire team fought. They worked really, really hard all season.”
Downingtown West 1, West Chester East 0
W.C. East 0 0 – 0
Downingtown West 0 1 – 1
Downingtown West goal scorers: Peraino.
Goalie saves: MacPherson (WCE) 8, O’Loughlin (DW) 5.