WESTTOWN >> Imagine battling all season to make the playoffs and be told, congratulations on making the postseason. Your reward – you get to play your biggest division rival.
That was the task facing 15th-seeded West Chester Rustin and No. 18 Unionville in the first round of the District 1 4A girls soccer playoffs on a raw, windswept Tuesday evening at Rustin.
The Golden Knights (12-4-3) received an early-second half goal by Lindsay Krafchick and a stout defensive effort to edge the Longhorns, 1-0. The win earned Rustin a berth in the second round Thursday against second-seeded Owen J. Roberts.
“It’s a shame that one of the Ches-Mont teams get knocked out by another Ches-Mont team,” said Unionville coach Joe Ratasiewicz. “That’s the way the power rankings worked out. We would have loved to played someone else and have us both go through. But, good luck to Rustin. They have a real good team.”
Going with the wind in the first half, Unionville had slightly the better part of the play. They outshot Rustin 8-1 over the first 40 minutes.
Goalkeeper Erika Seelaus made five saves, her best one coming when the Longhorns earned a free kick after a handball. Jules Muntz went straight for goal from about 25 yards out, and Seelaus deflected the rising shot out for a corner kick.
The two teams played to a 1-1 tie earlier in the season and always seem to play close, intense games, no matter if it’s in the regular season or the postseason.
“Always close, always fun. I have great respect for the coaches over there and it’s always a fun game to watch.” said Rustin coach Ashley Ainsworth.
It looked like the bundled-up crowd would have to wait a while to see the deadlock broken, but Rustin and their senior co-captain had other ideas. Less than five minutes into the second half, the Knights were making a foray into the Unionville zone, and a contested ball was deflected directly to Krafchick, who settled it and fired a low shot from 20 yards out that snuck past goalie Mia Beaudet and inside the right post for the all-imporant opening goal.
“The ball was just bouncing around and I had an opening. I shot it as hard as I could, and it went into the corner with power,” said Krafchick. “I did [pick out the right corner], that was the ony open pocket.”
Rustin then had the task of defending for the next 35 minutes, but it was something that Ainsworth didn’t feel would be an issue.
“Honestly, I’m very, very confident in our backline,” she said. “They work so well together. They communicate well. They just work their butts off.”
The defense held Unionville to four shots in the half, and one in the last 15 minutes. That effort was in the final seconds off a free kick, but Ali Tryon’s looping effort went wide of the goal and the Golden Knights were able to exhale.
Unionville’s season ended with a 11-4-5 record.
“They got one good shot and it went in. We had a couple of opportunities, but it didn’t go in,” said Ratasiewicz. “When you don’t score when you’re supposed to, it comes back to haunt you. I’m just proud of our team, from the way we started our season to how we ended it, we were much improved. The seniors played their guts out.”
Rustin has now won eight straight and is unbeaten in nine, with shutouts in three of the last six.
West Chester Rustin 1, Unionville 0
Unionville 0 0 – 0
WC Rustin 0 1 – 1
WC Rustin goal: Krafchick.
Goalie saves: Beaudet (U) 2; Seelaus (WCR) 6.
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