In a pair of home soccer games last week, the boys of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy faced the two teams competing for the league's top spot.
In a pair of home soccer games last week, the boys of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy faced the two teams who've been in close competition for the top spot in the Inter-Ac League standings.
On Tuesday, visiting Haverford School overcame the Blue Devils, 2-0, and the Fords then defeated Malvern Prep to end the week with a 6-0-1 record that translated to a league-leading 19 points in the Inter-Ac standings (three points for a win; one for a tie).
Penn Charter, which has played one more league game than Haverford, thumped fifth-place Episcopal Academy on Tuesday, 4-1, for a 5-1-1 record and a total of 16 points. Although the Fords would still have had a game in hand, PC could've matched their 19 points with a win in Friday evening's contest at SCH, but it was not to be.
A goal early in the second half by the Quakers was matched by the Blue Devils later on in the period, and the 1-1 tie could not be broken in overtime. Charter inched up to a 5-1-2 mark for 17 points, while Springside Chestnut Hill ended the week with a league mark of 3-4-1, tied for third place with Germantown Academy with 10 points apiece.
When Haverford arrived in Chestnut Hill in the middle of last week, the match got underway with SCH junior Michael Glennon leading attacks up the right wing. On one of these assaults, senior Peter Shea hit a strong cross from near the right corner that strayed into the outside of the net wall of the goal.
A little later, Haverford made a throw-in that found one of the Fords' heads inside the box, but the ball popped straight up in the air and was grabbed by the Blue Devils' sophomore goalie, Cole Carberry. There was another errant Haverford header off of a good serve into the box, and on a similar play at the other end, SCH senior Abdoul Diallo could not quite direct the ball where he wanted.
After the first half ended with a 0-0 tally, the visitors attacked in a determined manner as the second period began. A few minutes in, a Fords corner kick from the right flew toward the box and into the midst of a clump of players from both sides. After what the SCH squad perceived as a hand ball by the opposition (no whistle from the refs), the ball bounced loose in the ground for a few seconds and senior Thomas Kaplan jabbed it over the goal line.
The eventual game-winner was now on the books with 36:25 remaining in the second half. The Fords continued to generate a lot of offensive action after this, and eventually they tacked on an insurance point with 6:54 left to play. It came on a penalty kick, which was put away low on the left side by senior Sebastian Perez-Gasiba.
With two minutes to go, an SCH direct kick was taken by senior Zayd DeVeaux, and Fords' keeper Connor Cresswell (also a senior) made a dramatic leap to his right to deflect the ball wide of the goalpost.
On a Haverford corner kick with 30 seconds left, the ball was cleared out of danger by SCH senior Charles Durso, but the Fords soon were celebrating a 2-0 victory.
As Friday's twilight game got underway there were two early restarts, a direct kick for SCH and a corner kick for Penn Charter. No shots resulted, but later on PC sophomore Willem van Beelen had one strong shot blocked by a field player and another saved by the SCH keeper, Carberry.
Later in the opening period Carberry stopped a hard-hit shot by Quakers senior James Melnick (a Lafayette recruit), and the Blue Devils' Diallo sent a blast toward the Quakers' cage but saw the ball track a little wide to the right. It was still 0-0 at halftime.
When play resumed SCH's Glennon had an outside shot turned away by PC senior Pete Punchello, then the Quakers set up for a corner kick from the right about five minutes in. The ball was booted beyond the far post in the air, but the Blue Devils were unable to clear it upfield and junior Ryder Stearn scored to give Penn Charter a 1-0 lead.
After an SCH corner kick led to a high shot, PC came back down and had the ball rolling loose behind Carberry when Devils' senior Ryan McManus cleared the ball off the goal line.
As the middle of the period passed, corner kicks by each side came and went with the score unaltered. With about 10 minutes left in regulation, Springside Chestnut Hill senior Peter Shea drove the ball hard on the ground from the right side. Punchello blocked it and players scrambled after the loose ball by the mouth of the goal. Devils junior Alexander Zeka knocked it across the goal line to tie the match at 1-1.
Penn Charter pressed up on offense for most of the time remaining in the second half, but after a corner kick with 10 seconds left was cleared by the SCH defense, the contest went into the standard Inter-Ac 10-minute overtime, with no golden goal option.
Goals of any kind continued to be hard to come by, and the bout ended at 1-1.