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East girls make statement in opener


All CB East could do was tip its hat and get ’em tomorrow.

With 5:54 remaining in double overtime on Friday, Pennsbury’s Rosie Bostian launched a beautiful shot from the wing into the upper left corner of the goal. The shot ended 94 minutes of scoreless soccer and gave host Pennsbury a 1-0 win in the opener for both sides.

Hope Solo would have struggled to stop Bostian’s shot. “Every person put in 110%,” said East co-captain Marissa Plack. “It was just a great shot on goal.”

Friday marked the debut for East coach Jake Nesteruk. It will be one of his charges’ most hard-fought losses.

“This is a tough place to play and a great litmus test for the season,” Nesteruk said. “For the girls to battle for as long as they did, and for the tempo to change and for momentum to flip, they played really well. It was a fabulous goal. That’s really it.”

CB East served notice that it has turned the corner. Pennsbury has won five straight SOL National titles and went to states last fall. The Patriots finished 5-11-2 last season. Yet East stood toe-to-toe with the Falcons for every second of the game.

“I thought we put up some really good competition against them considering this is our first real game together with a new coach,” pointed out Patriot co-captain Anna Valko. “We pretty much have a new starting lineup. Seeing how we came together as a team, defended so well and got so many chances on goal was pretty impressive.”

After a quiet first 40 minutes, East keeper Kiera Donnelly recorded three saves in a hectic 140-second span early in the second half.

“In the second half, we finally realized that we can do this,” Donnelly speculated on the increased intensity from both sides. “We’re just as competitive as they are and we were matching them.”

The Falcons had six corner kicks; only one produced a threatening shot. “We worked well together. We all communicated, made sure everyone was marked and that no one was open and roaming in the box,” described Donnelly, who recorded a dozen saves. “We kept people in the post to push everyone up and we cleared it out on the first hit.”

The Patriots had four corners, including one in both overtime periods. They got good looks in each OT period from two sophomores. Courtney Curry had a clean shot from the wing midway through the first overtime. Elise Duffy beat two defenders and earned a free kick, which led to an East corner, early in the second overtime.

“We try to be really supportive of each other on the field and make sure that everyone is included,” Plack offered. “We get everyone to work together.”

“We’re really lucky to have talent across the board from our upperclassmen to our underclassmen. Our upperclassmen set the tone. Our seniors are great at motivating,” Nesteruk added. “Our sophomores and freshmen have taken to what our upperclassmen are doing and running with it.”

Nesteruk started at keeper at the College of New Jersey. “First and foremost, we want to stick with what East has been successful with, which is posting zeros, making ourselves big, covering for each other and staying connected with each other as a backline through the midfield,” is how Nesteruk explained his defensive principles.

The Patriots were 1-1 after Tuesday’s 3-2 double overtime victory over WC Henderson. An intense schedule arrives early as East battles archrivals CB West and CB South in their next two matches.

“The game seemed to come down to who wanted it more,” Valko concluded Friday. “But I wouldn’t say the end goal defined who wanted it more. The intensity from both sides of the ball was great.”

Alumni Notes: Three Patriot alumni hope to repeat their collegiate successes from last fall. Penn senior Emma Loving, an All-American at East, and Bloomsburg sophomore Kate Schlotter both helped their sides claim conference titles in 2018. Arcadia junior Megan Mannato helped the Knights earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.