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Goffice plays hero as Boyertown rallies past Nazareth in PIAA 4A first round

BUCKTOWN >> Standout junior forward Sam Goffice came off the bench and celebrated her birthday with two quick goals on Tuesday night to boost Boyertown to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Nazareth in a PIAA Class 4A girls soccer opening-round match at Owen J. Roberts’ Wildcat Stadium.

Goffice, who sat out the district final with an injury and did not play Tuesday until 31 minutes remained, did what she was sent in to do during her short stint with two scores off passes from Camilla Kuever within 79 seconds of each other midway through the second half after Ana Vera scored for the Eagles in the first half.

Boyertown (23-2), which has set a program record for wins in a season, will face District 7 champion North Allegheny – a 1-0 winner over District 3 runner-up Cumberland Valley – in a Saturday quarterfinal at a time and place to be determined.

The District 1 runner-up Bears had already created several good scoring opportunities early in the second half as the result of sustained pressure on the District 11 runner-up Eagles (12-10) when Goffice made her first appearance of the night.

She tied the score with 22:23 to go and then put the Bears on top with a shot off the hands of the diving goalkeeper with 21:04 remaining.

“The team was doing really well in the second half,” said junior forward Goffice. “If I went in or not, I knew we were going to score. Me and Camilla really connect a lot.”

Boyertown’s Emma Beidler plays a pass forward against Nazareth Tuesday. (Austin Hertzog – MNG)

“As soon as she came in, I knew where I could put the ball,” said German exchange student Kuever. “We have a really good chemistry.”

Boyertown had a good chance to take an early lead when Mikayla Moyer placed a corner kick right out in front for a header by Kuever, but Eagle keeper Kelly Leszcynski (4 saves) made the stop.

Then Nazareth took the lead in the 27th minute on a break down the middle of the field when Abigail James passed to Vera, who drove a long shot off the hands of keeper Matti Gallagher (4 saves) that fell into the goal.

Kuever had a blast on goal soon after the halftime break that was knocked down by the defense and shot one just wide left a minute later. Nazareth nearly doubled its lead with 23 minutes to go when James passed in front to Hayden Berner but Gallagher made the save and the Bears quickly countered with their two scores.

“We were in a bit of a desperate situation, even though we had control,” said Boyertown coach Bill Goddard. “Give Nazareth a lot of credit. They came in here and had a plan.”

But that plan was disrupted by Goffice, who played less than 10 minutes in all.

“I had pains (from a sprained ankle suffered in the district semifinal),” she said. “But we needed a goal.”

Boyertown’s Mikayla Moyer tries to cut around a Nazareth player Tuesday. (Austin Hertzog – MNG)

Boyertown – which had a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks – stayed on the attack, even after Goffice returned to the bench.

“We completely stayed in their half in the second half,” said Kuever. “We were all going for the third goal.”

“Sam came in and she was the hero, obviously,” said Goddard. “But prior to her goals, the backs, midfield and forwards played well. We did everything but score. I’m proud of the girls. It was a good character moment, going down early in a state playoff game.”

The Bears’ only other state appearance came in 2013, when they defeated Easton 4-0 and then lost to Central Bucks East on penalty kicks. So they will try to add another highlight to the season that has already produced a Pioneer Athletic Conference title and the team’s first district finals appearance when they try for their first state quarterfinal win on Saturday.

“It would be nice,” said Goffice. “We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

“It’s really exciting,” added Kuever. “I really love it here. I don’t want it to end.”

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