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Boys soccer: Faith shows mettle in Falcons match

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Coaches are seldom upbeat after a loss.

But Ryan Clymer was buoyant Saturday night at Lower Makefield’s Macclesfield Park. It was easy to see why. His Faith Christian Lions went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in District One 4A in a 2-1 loss to Pennsbury.

“We wanted to score a goal and keep it close,” Clymer offered. “We did that. The effort was there. We were right there knocking at the door.”

Jaden Haig scored from the right wing 15 minutes in and Evan Reichard added a goal from the left wing 12 minutes later to put the Falcons up 2-0. Yet Faith possessed equally to Pennsbury (9-1-1) and had four first half corner kicks to the Falcons’ three.

“Our game plan was to play tough D and play people outside,” said Faith co-captain Max Schultz. “We knew they were the better team at first and the bigger school. We wanted to play feet here, attack the corner and run our set pieces.”

“Coach had the intention of switching to a 3-2-3-2,” added co-captain Travis Harwick. “Our first half, we played lights out. We were finding feet and connecting balls. We had two slip ups but we knew we could hang with these guys. I think that showed in the second half.”

Faith keeper J.R. Roberts, who saved seven, had some late first half defensive help. Defender Peyton Curry made a nice header clear of a Pennsbury corner, and Schultz blocked a Falcon shot with his body.

“Peyton joined us from travel baseball just three weeks ago,” Clymer said. “Our starting center back just broke his jaw and Peyton stepped right in. It was baptism by fire but he did a great job.”

The Lions got on the board four minutes into the second half. Harwick centered to dynamic sophomore Chris Evans. Evans thundered a 25-yard shot just under the crossbar and off the back of Pennsbury’s keeper for a score.

“Chris has been working a lot in practice and he did amazing tonight,” Harwick said. “His high intensity and pressure on their back really helped the team to regroup. His goal sent a wake up call.”

“Once we switched to a 3-2-3-2 offense, we were able to pass it to the outside mids and attack the near post. It was easier for us to keep possession,” Schultz added.

Korey Schuster set up Garrett Mikula on another scoring opportunity 13 minutes later. Mikula’s shot to tie went just left.

Schuster is one of Bucks County’s best returning players. “He is finally getting back to full strength,” Clymer observed. “I think Garrett on the other flank can do damage like Korey. Chris is very dangerous and we’re working every day on his technique.”

From Sept. 19 to 26, Faith (8-3-1, 5-1 Bicentennial) defeated each of its three Bicentennial Constitution rivals. The Lions posted three shutouts.

Faith defeated 3A Saucon Valley 1-0 in its opener and tied 3A Northwestern Lehigh 1-1 on Sept. 13. “We went into this offseason wanting to play bigger and better teams,” Clymer said. “(Pennsbury) is a great squad.”

The Lions are a small school with big plans. Faith has won the last three District One Class A titles, and it would like nothing better than a four-peat. Last fall, the Lions broke through and advanced to the PIAA Final Four. In all three state tournaments, Faith was knocked out by the eventual PIAA champion.

“We like to outwork teams and we take pride in winning the midfield,” Clymer assessed. “When we do that, we’re a dangerous team.”

“I think the biggest difference between the beginning of the season and now is our mindset,” Harwick concluded. “We’ve all matured as players and we’ve started to really play together as a team. We know each other and what we can do. That’s really helped us in the later stages of our season.”


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