With one game remaining, Pennridge’s boys soccer team is reviewing the possibilities of its seeding in the upcoming District One tournament.
Beginning the week, the Rams (10-6-1) were seeded 14th in the 24-team field. But they control some of their own destiny: The Rams played Central Bucks East Tuesday (a 1-0 loss) and face North Penn Thursday.
“We have two big games left,” said Pennridge head coach Pete Valimont prior to the Rams’ matchup against East. “There is a lot that could change. If we can beat North Penn, we can move up and likely secure a home game in the first round.
“But we just have to go out and take care of our business.”
The Rams were glad to have a relatively light final week of the season with just two games, while their counterparts are cramming their final three or even four games.
Pennridge frontloaded its schedule to even include a Labor Day tournament that provided them some leeway at the end. The Rams also finished second out of 30 teams in a very competitive summer league in the Lehigh Valley that helped provided an early boost.
“We didn’t want to have a full week before the district playoffs began,” said Valimont. “We feel we can have some fresh legs next week. It has worked out for us so far.”
Senior captain and four-year starter Dillan Natitus has made his presence felt.
“He was an all-league choice last year and has provided us with leadership,” said Valimont about Natitus. “He has done a great job on defense and we’re looking for him to continue to lead us.”
Natitus has taken the cue from his coach.
“We had a busy schedule at the start, and it has helped us in the end,” he said. “We had some ups and downs, but the mood and chemistry on this team has changed.
“Our younger players stepped it up, and we’re all coming together now.”
Sophomore Aidan Castle leads the team in goals with eight and has provided a spark.
“He is one of the fastest players in the league,” said Valimont of Castle. “Teams have tried to double team him and he still finds an edge. He will continue to get better.”
Valimont also has been impressed with junior defenders Carlos Erazo and Dalton Guthrie for their work ethics.
The Rams have been alternating junior Owen Gunn and freshman CJ Dimmick in the nets, and the concept appears to be working.
“They both have done a really nice job, and we haven’t had trouble preparing for either one,” said Valimont. “It has been a good situation for both of them, and they have worked well together.”
North Penn defeated the Rams 2-0 on Sept. 24. Regardless of their seeding next week, Valimont anticipates that his team will handle the situation.
“We won our opening tournament and that really helped us,” said Valimont. “We gained confidence and we came together as a team.
“We’ll see who we draw in districts, and we’ll be ready.”