Pick a positive trait and it likely applies to the Faith Christian soccer program.
On Tuesday night, after a 13-0 walkover against District 12 champion Tacony Charter, the Lions (21-0) found themselves in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year. Faith won the 2020 state title.
Faith head coach Ryan Clymer felt the 2023 Lions were the fastest of his four title winning sides. “They have been playing together for a while,” Clymer shared. “They like each other. They get along and are cohesive. They are very skilled. This is probably the deepest team I’ve ever coached.”
The Lions take on District 11’s Moravian Academy in Saturday’s PIAA quarterfinal. It’s the fourth straight year the sides have faced each other in states. Faith won the first two; Moravian won in overtime last year.
Four state berths meant Faith had to win the District One title for four straight years. They accomplished the four-peat last Wednesday night at Central Bucks West, in a hard fought 3-2 win over Delco Christian. Delco struck first; Faith responded 36 seconds later.
“We had more possessions and more corners, but they scored on us 20 minutes in. I said to my coaches ‘Hopefully that wakes us up’ since we had been going through the motions,” Clymer described. “It was a good practice. I loved how Delco brought everything they had to the table.
“Now we get a chance to refocus and hopefully we get a chance to play four more matches,” Clymer added.
Logan Moore’s 50th minute goal broke a 1-1 tie and put the Lions up 2-1. Guilherme Machado added his second goal of the night three minutes later, which proved to be the game-winner. Delco fought valiantly but fell short.
The Lions had dominated their class A foes; in their first four games against the two, three and four seeds, Faith outscored them 22-0. That includes a Sept. 13 6-0 win against Delco Christian.
Any unbeaten regular season is impressive. Adding to Faith’s luster are five victories over 4A sides – including the eighth and ninth seeds Lower Merion and Upper Dublin.
Besides speed and depth, experience is a huge advantage for Faith. “I’ve had a lot of these guys for four years; they know what I want and they play it on the field. You have some guys who command a presence out there, like a coach on the field,” Clymer noted. “They buy in. They listen. When we have to go into different formations or a lineup, they are all in.
“That’s a fun team to coach, when they can change things on a dime,” Clymer concluded. “It has been a fun ride so far.”
Council Rock North (18-3-2) entered PIAAs as the District One five seed; the Indians used an Ari Pollack hat trick and six second half goals to dispatch Central Bucks South (17-5-2) in last Friday’s seeding game.
CR North topped District 11 champ and home side Emmaus 2-1 in Tuesday’s PIAA opening round. Logan Adams scored in the first half and Pollack buried a second half penalty kick that proved to be the game-winner. North advances to play La Salle in Saturday’s quarterfinal.
It came down to PKs but the Titans beat District Three champion Cumberland Valley on Tuesday in Mechanicsburg. Nate MacLeod buried a penalty kick in the 46th minute to put CB South up 1-0. CV tied it, but South won the PK battle 3-1 after two overtimes as keeper Patrick VanLuvanee iced two. South moves on to face North Allegheny in Saturday’s quarterfinal.
No. 3 Solebury School (10-4, 9-2 PJAA), the Penn-Jersey Blue Division runner-up, beat No. 2 AIM Academy 5-3 in Monday’s league semifinal. Solebury routed No. 6 Kimberton Waldorf 8-0 in the Nov. 2 conference quarterfinal. The Spartans dueled No. 1 Phelps, unbeaten in conference play, in Wednesday’s late game for the PJAA title at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken.