Following a Springside Chestnut Hill corner kick from the left side, players for both the Blue Devils and for St. Joseph’s Prep go after the ball just to the right of the goal. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

After many dramatic moments over the course of last Saturday’s soccer square-off between host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and visiting St. Joseph’s Prep, the outcome was decided in a sequence during which all but two players stood idle.

With just under six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the contest, the Prep’s Colin McGlynn converted a penalty kick to give the Hawklets a 2-1 victory over the SCH Blue Devils. Earlier, McGlynn had provided the visitors with a 1-0 halftime edge, and Springside Chestnut Hill pulled even just a few minutes after the intermission on a goal by junior Phillip Kelly.

It was the first win for St. Joe’s in three official outings, and SCH had

split a pair of games on a road trip to North Carolina, so each squad left the field last Saturday with a 1-2 record.

Both the Devils and Hawklets had some offensive opportunities in the first 15 minutes, and a little later SCH had the ball ping-ponging around in front of the visitors’ cage, but couldn’t put it in. St. Joe’s soon learned to respect the long throw-ins by SCH senior quad-captain Tim Ogle.

“That’s a very dangerous weapon for us,” agreed Springside Chestnut Hill coach Joe DiSalvo, “especially because a lot of the fields that we’re playing on aren’t very wide, and he can get the ball right into the middle.”

After one of these tosses, the hosts got off a close-range shot that went just inches over the crossbar. Not long after that, sophomore José Contreras made a skillful centering pass from out along the left endline, but junior Alec Greenhalgh could not quite reach the ball in time on his run towards the far post.

Later, SCH bounced a shot off the top right corner of the goalframe, and at the other end the Hawklets drove the ball across the goalmouth from the right side, but no one got a foot on it. The wind had been gusting up and the first rain drops from an approaching storm front were felt with a little over ten minutes left in the half.

With five-and-a-half minutes to go, the visitors’ Michael Carr put a corner kick in play from the left and the ball deflected out to the middle of the 18 yard line, where McGlynn pounded it back into the cage for the first goal of the game.

Freshman Sam McDowell started in goal for the Blue Devils, and junior Josh Moss has been seeing action in the nets, as well.

“They’re both coming along,” said DiSalvo. “A lot of it is just building their confidence and getting some shots hit at them, which we’re doing in practice.”

The score remained 1-0 for the last few minutes of the first half, and while the rain caused spectators to scramble for their umbrellas, it tapered off later on and the more violent elements of the weather front passed to the north.

Just in case conditions worsened and shortened the game, home fans were happy to see Kelly score to tie the match just three-and-a-half minutes into the second half, making good off an assist from Greenhalgh.

Both teams had a few cracks at netting the go-ahead goal, but neither could come up with one, at least on real-time play on the field. As the clock ticked down towards six minutes, the Hawklets attacked the box and drew a penalty kick, which was shot low to the left by McGlynn for a 2-1 lead. SCH was unable to pull even a second time.

“Unfortunately, I think we risk being in the same position we were in last year, losing a number one-goal games,” said DiSalvo, citing single-point Inter-Ac league losses to league champion Malvern, Germantown Academy, and Pa. Independent School champ Haverford School (twice).

The SCH skipper noted, “We’re focusing on trying to produce offense and create chances, and we’re actually doing a real good job of creating chances, but we’ve got to finish them.”