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Girls soccer: Moyer hat trick sparks West playoff win


S.O.G stands for Shots on Goal.

“Sog” also described the rainy Tuesday night in War Memorial Stadium.

Yet neither Taylor Moyer nor Ryan Fitzsimmons minded. Each had a first half goal and assist as their No. 14 Central Bucks West Bucks (11-5-3) topped No. 19 Penncrest (9-6-3) 4-0 in the first round of District One Class 4A girls soccer action.

“I think we do better in the rain actually,” said sophomore forward Moyer. “It’s easier to move the ball.”

After two close misses – Fitzsimmons got off a direct shot in the 16th minute while Alexa Vail forced Lions keeper Grace Simpson to make a diving save nine minutes later – the Bucks broke through with 11:18 remaining in the half. Fitzsimmons converted a Moyer pass to put West up 1-0.

“We missed Ryan and it showed tonight. There is a connection between her and Taylor, and when they’re on the field together,” said West coach Mike Moyer, “they are tough to stop.”

“I’d never scored in a district game before and I had been out the last few games because of my ankle,” Fitzsimmons said. “I wanted to come out and make a statement. We played this team last year and it was important for us to get on the board quickly. I got a good ball from Taylor.”

Ninety seconds later, Moyer punched in her own shot to widen the Bucks’ margin to 2-0. Fitzsimmons had the helper.

“The second goal, I got it right on my feet and I knew Ryan was to the side of me. She gave me a great touch and I finished it,” Moyer described.

The Bucks logged four corner kicks in a 12-minute span after zero in the first 20 minutes of the game. “The momentum from scoring really motivates us,” Fitzsimmons shared. “We’ve been working on staying positive throughout the game. That helps us play better. Once we got on the board, goals started going in and we knew we could win this game.”

Moyer added a third goal in the 48th minute on a breakaway after an impressive “threading the needle” pass from Mariella Neri. The hats came out for the sophomore with 24:09 left when Moyer turned an Erin Fitzsimmons pass into West’s fourth goal.

The five-day break between West’s season finale and the first round of districts was much needed. Coach Moyer’s team was talented but nursing injuries.

“(The break) really helped us a lot,” Taylor Moyer pointed out. “We were able to come out strong and be ready to play.”

West had just two losses in its last 11 regular season games, although the Bucks might have been running a little out of gas toward the end. The Bucks still posted five shutouts during that span.

Defensively, Tori Albrecht made two nice header clears early, one of which neutered Penncrest’s first corner kick. West keeper Jenna Abaza made her first save in the 35th minute, turning away a hard Lions offering from short range. Abaza saved six on the night.

The Bucks will tackle No. 3 Conestoga (15-2) in Thursday second-round action. The Stoga match marks West’s second straight Central League postseason opponent.

“We’re healthy again and we hadn’t been healthy in two weeks,” Coach Moyer said. “The cohesion back (on defense) is just getting stronger in each game we play but it will be tested on Thursday.”