Clash of the titans
Pennridge holds on to down CB East
Andrea Caya was having difficulty speaking.
Another side effect from playing Central Bucks East, which, like Pennridge, entered Monday night’s clash in East Rockhill unbeaten.
“I’ve always been pretty vocal,” said Caya, whose vocal cords took a beating all evening from shouting directions and offering words of encouragement to her fellow Rams. “But it’s important that we get our younger players to step up and take the initiative because they’re the future of this program.”
The future can wait. These Rams are on a roll.
“We all knew coming in someone was going home a winner. There wasn’t going to be a tie,” Pennridge head coach Audrey Anderson said, referring to the first meeting between the two schools on Sept. 24, a 0-0 double-OT decision.
Anderson was right. After trailing early, 1-0, the Rams scored three straight and held on to post a 3-2 victory and improve to 10-0-3 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference and 13-0-3 overall. The Patriots dropped to 9-1-3 in the Continental and 13-1-3 overall.
“We played about 50 of the 80 minutes and we played 50 great minutes, but it was the other 30 that we gave up too much,” CB East head coach Paul Eisold said. “[Pennridge] defended very well tonight. They had a desire [to win] this game. And that was evident on the field. You could see it.”
Sophomore Emma Loving struck early for the Patriots, taking a feed from Kristen Murphy and blasting the ball by Rams ’keeper Amanda O’Hara in the 5th minute. Senior Jackie Stevens, assisted by Katie Fischer, tied in up in the 20th minute, and Caya, off a corner boot by Julia Rufe, put Pennridge ahead, 2-1, with 1:17 remaining in the first half.
“We gave up a silly goal with disorganization and that was the game-changer,” Eisold said.
Caya offered: “We were disappointed in the way we came out as a team, but we definitely stepped up. Once we got our rhythm going, good things happened.”
Stevens scored her second goal of the game nearly halfway through the second half, but CB East made a late push, when Loving deposited her second goal of the evening with 5:09 remaining in regulation.
“Emma Loving has been tremendous all season,” Eisold said. “She continues to get better, she’s a hard worker. She’s got her eyes on the prize. She wants to go beyond high school, and she just works tremendously hard. And, tonight, she had two beautiful goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t support her and give her enough on the other end to get more goals.”
Anderson praised her squad’s defensive effort.
“Andrea (Caya) in the middle did a good job winning those balls; Audrey (Butcher) at center back did a good job winning those balls out of the air,” she said. “Those two girls and Julia Rufe are huge in the air. They just seem to find the ball. They came up big for us.”
Anderson wasn’t surprised CB East made a late run. The Patriots have proven to be one of the top teams in the state.
“East is so strong,” Anderson said. “They’re so fast; they have so many weapons. For us to come back from a 1-0 [deficit] to win 3-2 was huge.”
A win or a tie Wednesday at North Penn (results unavailable at presstime) would have given the Continental to the Rams. The Patriots were scheduled to host Central Bucks South on Wednesday.
“We’re enjoying it,” Anderson said of her squad’s run. “We said before the game, we’ve put ourselves in a good position to get to the playoffs, and that was our goal, to get to the playoffs, get back to states, all that stuff. That’s what they want.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them. Whatever I ask, they do. They don’t question it. They do whatever they have to do to get the job done.”
Caya said the Rams didn’t even play their best ball against CB East.
“We haven’t peaked yet as a team,” she admitted. “Each game we look forward to improving on what we did wrong the last game.”
Still, Caya put Monday’s contest in its proper context.
“We knew this was a big game,” she said, “but it wasn’t going to make or break our season.”
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