Fourth-seeded SCH earned a bye in the first round, but number five PC advanced to meet the Chestnut Hill squad.
In late September, the first girls' soccer match between Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy ended with a 3-0 SCH victory. In their Inter-Ac League rematch, the Blue Devils prevailed once again, but only by a 2-1 count. The PC Quakers had a third chance to meet the Devils thanks to the seeding for the Pa. Independent Schools tournament.
Fourth-seeded SCH earned a bye in the first round, but number five PC advanced to meet the Chestnut Hill squad by beating 12th-seeded Mercersburg Academy in the opening round, 4-0.
After a scoreless first half in last Tuesday's PC-SCH clash in the quarterfinals, SCH went up 2-0 in the second period and Charter made it close at the end with a late goal for a 2-1 finish.
Penn Charter's earlier victory over Mercersburg in the PAIS tourney was highlighted by two goals from sophomore Lauren Bucksar and one apiece from seniors Haley Lewinski and Liv Linus.
From the get-go, Tuesday's game at SCH offered the intensity expected of a match-up between closely-seeded teams, in this case a four/five contest. Over the first 15 minutes the host Blue Devils saw near-misses by freshman Ryleigh Bakley and senior Abby Udowenko, who shot wide to the left and to the right, respectively.
Charter was also putting on pressure at the other end. Freshman Ally Bradby took the ball into the left side of the box and got off a strong shot, forcing SCH junior goalie Gracyn Lee-Torchiana to make a diving save.
A little past the middle of the first half a Quakers corner kick from the right side did not produce a shot on goal, and later an excellent right-left cross by the Devils' Udowenko found no one to get a touch in front of the PC goal or at the far post.
Springside had some scary moments when PC had a line of players attack and two of them went completely unmarked on the far left wing and on the left side of the box. The Quakers' Jul Toomey fired but Lee-Torchiana was able to leap sideways and get her paws on the ball to deflect it.
On a through pass across the Penn Charter 18-yard-line by the Blue Devils, senior goalie Maia Kafer charged out to snatch the ball just before SCH junior Zarin DeVeaux could reach it. Near the end of the opening period, a long free kick by PC was caught by Lee-Torchiana, and the half ended with a 0-0 score.
SCH was given a restart chance early in the second stanza, a corner kick from the left taken by freshman Cali Smith. There was no immediate shot as the ball rolled around in a swarm of players in front of the cage, and seconds later a one-timer by freshman Deus Stanislaus was stopped by a diving Kafer.
Springside Chestnut Hill stayed up on offense, and when sophomore Jillian Major was tripped in the right side of the box, a penalty kick was called. Stanislaus placed the PK low on the left and the Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead with 33:37 remaining in the second half.
Later, Charter served in a corner kick from the left, and SCH freshman Ella Thompson cleared the ball out of the box. About 15 minutes into the period, Blue Devils freshman Izzy Shimaku hit the Charter crossbar with a shot. On another approach from the right wing, Shimaku made a nice cross into the middle. The ball rolled past several players without a touch, but Bakley was waiting at the far post and she put the hosts up 2-0 with 24:18 left to play.
Stanislaus sent a shot over the Charter crossbar midway through the period, and another assault by the Devils found PC keeper Kafer on the ground as the ball rolled loose in the box. Quakers sophomore Cailyn O'Brien cleared the ball out of the danger zone to keep it a 2-0 game.
Not long after that, Stanislaus left the field with a relatively minor injury and was kept on the sidelines for the duration.
As the game got down near the 10-minute mark two other ninth-graders, Smith and Alex de Beaulac, had shots stopped by Kafer.
The Blue Devils would not coast stress-free into the semifinals, though.
Penn Charter's Bucksar broke the SCH shutout with 5:31 left on the clock to make it a one-goal game. In the end, Springside protected its slim lead by pressing the attack, and the final horn found the ball at the feet of Udowenko, who'd been playing her last game on Landreth Field before moving on to play for Seton Hall University.