by Tom Utescher
Despite playing without leading scorer Danny Hull much of the time, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s soccer team swept its home/away series against Episcopal Academy last week. SCH first edged the Churchmen on their home turf on Tuesday, 1-0, then captured a 2-0 victory in the return engagement in Chestnut Hill on Friday afternoon.
In a collision during the first minute of Tuesday’s game, Hull suffered a fractured left fibula, and the senior will spend the rest of the season on crutches. The Blue Devils were still able to improve their Inter-Ac League record to 3-4 with last week’s wins, while attaining an overall mark of 12-7. The corresponding figures for the Churchmen were 1-4-1 and 6-8-1 when they headed back home on Friday.
The previous week, SCH had played tough against undefeated Haverford, but lost 2-1 in overtime at home, and 3-2 in regulation at the Fords’ field. In the first of those games the Blue Devils’ senior keeper, Sam Feirson, received a red card. That meant he was automatically suspended for the rematch at Haverford, and junior midfielder Andrew Marcantonio-Fields filled the vacancy in goal.
“I’m pleased with the way we’ve dealt with adversity,” coach Joe DiSalvo reflected following the second Episcopal bout last week. “In these last two games, we’ve pretty much played without our leading scorer, since Hullsey got hurt right away in the game out at Episcopal. It’s nice to be able to get through without him, although we’re obviously going to miss a guy who has 15 goals and seven assists this season.”
In front of a large home crowd last Friday, SCH senior Dan Trulear had two shots spurned by EA goalie Jim Farrell in the first dozen minutes. After the second stop, the Churchmen came down the field to launch a shot over the home team’s crossbar, but overall, SCH continued to have the better of the play. Alex DeBerardinis, senior tri-captain for the Devils along with Trulear and Hull, was injured in the middle of the opening period but returned to score the first goal for his club.
That didn’t happen until the second half; late in the opening frame EA’s Farrell snagged a ball fired by sophomore Anthony Liddy, and SCH senior Shawn Wilson popped a shot over the Churchmen’s cage. On a Blue Devils serve towards the Episcopal goal right at the end of the period Farrell lost the handle on the ball, but it was cleared out by sweeper Trupert Ortlieb.
About 11 minutes into the second half, SCH advanced into the Episcopal penalty area en masse. In the midst of a crowd in the goalmouth there were several shots and deflections, and after a touch by sophomore Philip Kelly, DeBerardinis got a foot on the ball near the left post and scored.
Although the Blue Devils had the ball in their possession for most of the remainder of the contest, their lead was still a slim one, and a few Episcopal attacks caused some anxious moments for the home fans.
From the left side of the box, Wilson almost notched an insurance goal with four minutes to go, but Farrell got over to tip the ball outside of the right post. SCH kept up the pressure, and was awarded a direct kick outside the middle of the 18 yard line. A blast by Liddy skirted one end of EA’s defensive wall and found the net with 2:06 on the clock.
“I wish it had come a little earlier,” DiSalvo said. “We’re sort of the heart attack kids; I think all of our other Inter-Ac games have been one goal games, except for our opener with GA, where we didn’t play particularly well.
“Three years ago, we had four wins all season,” the coach continued. “That went up to five and then to six last year, and now we’ve already got 12 wins this season, so we’re building the program back up.”
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