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Pioneer Athletic Conference participants make most of SPSCA All-Star Classic

PLYMOUTH >> Sunday was a day for new perspectives.

For some, it was finding common ground while joining forces with longtime opponents. For others, it was getting a dose of the real world. And others still, seeing and passing the finish line of their high school careers – not just the players, either.

That was all on display from the representatives of the Pioneer Athletic Conference and the rest of the region at the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Coaches Association Senior All-Star Classic at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken Sunday.

The annual Thanksgiving-weekend event staged All-Star games between leagues throughout southeast Pa. In PAC results, the PAC All-Star girls fell to the Suburban One League Continental All-Stars 3-1 while the PAC All-Star boys drew 2-2 with the Philadelphia Catholic League/Suburban One League American All-Stars in the afternoon. Owen J. Roberts’ Sam Smith set up both PAC goals, the first for Upper Merion’s Trevor Looby and the other for Methacton’s TJ Taylor.

Seniors from the Pioneer Athletic Conference participated in the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Coaches Association Senior All-Star Classic at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken on Nov. 25. (Courtesy Tommy Meehan – tommymeehan.com)

Seniors from the Pioneer Athletic Conference participated in the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Coaches Association Senior All-Star Classic at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken on Nov. 25. (Courtesy Tommy Meehan – tommymeehan.com)

Work hard, play hard >> Phoenixville senior Morgan Wineburg scored the PAC girls’ lone goal as part of a busier day than most of her fellow participants.

Wineburg, twin sister Madison and fellow Phoenixville senior Leeza Galli served as event organizers, handling communications and administrative tasks as part of their senior projects in conjunction with the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Coaches Association and president Tim Raub, who recently stepped away as Phoenixville girls’ head coach.

“We really wanted to do something soccer-related (for our senior projects),” said Morgan Wineburg, who is set to continue her soccer career at Wilson College in Chambersburg. “We’ve loved soccer since we were really little. The idea of helping to show the senior All-Stars off to their friends, family and everyone was a good opportunity to incorporate everything into one.

“I definitely feel like I got more professional. Sending out emails and handling the communication, it helped with college next year and knowing how to deal with people professionally.”

The PAC’s Josh Fonder (Owen J. Roberts) plays a long ball forward. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

End of an era >> While the players at the SPSCA All-Star Classic were putting bows on four-year high school careers, Bob McCabe had a few years on them. Sunday marked the end of McCabe’s 25 years as coach at Perkiomen Valley, the last 22 as head coach.

His son, PV senior Matt McCabe, was capping his own high school career simultaneously, the younger McCabe being thankful for the chance to change the final note of his scholastic career from a penalty kick miss in the Vikings’ season-ending loss in the first round of the District 1 playoffs.

“I didn’t want that to be the last thing I did,” said Matt McCabe, who will play next fall at Arcadia.

Finding a happier punctuation mark after the ‘free and fun’ contest was more fitting after the high notes of the past two falls that included becoming the first large-school PAC team to qualify for the PIAA Championships in 2017 and a PAC championship in 2018.

“It ended the way we envisioned it ending. You always plan for how you’d like things to do, but that’s never a given,” Bob McCabe said. “Last year’s run to states came out of nowhere and was one of the things on my coaching bucket list. That was a dream season and then this year, these guys had never beaten Spring-Ford since they were freshmen so the goal was to beat them once. It just so happened it was in the final. For me, that was how I wanted to go out.”

PAC goalkeeper John Wagner (PJP) comes out to collect the ball. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Full circle >> Sunday’s perspective was more of a renewed one for Spring-Ford’s Ray Fortebuono. The Rams’ goalkeeper was between the posts at the Proving Grounds, a spot he was very familiar with while playing at the Developmental Academy-level with Continental FC, which calls the Proving Grounds home.

Fortebuono opted to join Spring-Ford as a senior and helped the team qualify for the PIAA Championships for the first time and go 18-4-3.

“I used to train here everyday for like eight years,” Fortebuono said. “It was a lot different (playing high school), especially with the high school games and the big crowds and the kids. The cheering and the craziness, all of that doesn’t happen in the academy (level). It was a lot of fun, more fun than in my previous academy years, and it was topped off with a really good team that made states for the first time.”

The All-Star game also featured many college coaches scouting uncommitted players, a category Fortebuono is included.

“It was a lot of fun having us together as a community, as well as getting to see some of the talent in the other leagues and having the college coaches watching us play,” he said.

The PAC’s Trevor Looby is congratulated after scoring a goal during the SPSCA All-Star Classic. (Austin Hertzog – DFM)

The Sunday finale was a high note for Upper Merion’s Looby, a multi-year All-PAC first team selection who is headed to West Chester, after making the most of a 4-14 season for the Vikings.

The PAC’s Steven Schaefer (Phoenixville) and Catholic League/SOL American’s Colin Asper (Upper Dublin) compete for a header. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

“This was really fun. It was good playing with the guys and meeting new people,” Looby said. “High school season was fun, and to be around the top players in our league was a really good experience.”

The Phantoms’ Madison Wineburg may have summed up the All-Star experience best.

“It was a lot of fun because we got to play with people I hate playing against during the season because they just frustrate you on the field,” she said. “So it was fun getting to play with them and experience how they play with you on the field. And since we got to play with many of them growing up, it was fun having everyone together for the last time and playing all together.”

PAC participants >> The PAC girls team included Owen J. Roberts’ Kylee MacLeod, Kenzie Milne, Mia Baumgarten, Bailey Hunt, Simone Karustis, Gretchen Harken; Boyertown’s Cassidy Landis; Phoenixville’s Gabrielle Perrotto, Galli and the Wineburg sisters; Methacton’s Kendall Ozorowski and Liz Greene; Upper Meroin’s Kaleigh Myers, Ananiya Jones, Colleen O’Brien; Perkiomen Valley’s Taylor Reiff, Ali Devers, Sydney Marasco, Kate Liotta; Spring-Ford’s Claire Sites, Jill Quigley. The team was coached by Phoenixville’s Raub and Methacton’s Bret Smith.

The PAC boys team included Owen J. Roberts’ Josh Fonder, Beckett Houck, Sam Coroniti and Smith; Methacton’s Logan Rambo, Trevor Rambo and TJ Taylor; Perkiomen Valley’s Max Chamorro and Matt McCabe; Boyertown’s Colin Brisbois; Spring-Ford’s Fortebuono and Aiden Hudon; Pope John Paul II’s John Wagner, Salvatore Marano, Brett Leighton; Phoenixville’s JT Stevens and Steven Schaefer; Upper Perkiomen’s Ian Costanzo and Upper Merion’s Trevor Looby. The team was coached by McCabe and Owen J. Roberts’ Eric Wentzel.

The PAC’s TJ Taylor (Methacton) tries to control the ball under pressure from a PCL/SOL American All-Star. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

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