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Girls soccer

Pennridge opens season with shutout over Palisades

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One could forgive the members of the Pennridge girls soccer team if they were basking in the glory of winning the 2020 PIAA Class 3A title.
But one does not have to.
The Rams consider last year’s title a thing of the past, and have their eyes set firmly on the 2021 season.
“That was the best day of my life,” said Pennridge senior captain Sierra Shaeffer, the goaltender. “It was amazing. But that was last year. Nothing is guaranteed and this year is a clean slate. Anything can happen.
“It’s a lot to live up to, and that pressure can be good or bad, but if we stay together and work as a team, I think everything will fall into place for us.”
Pennridge began this year’s campaign with an 8-0 shutout of non-league opponent Palisades on Saturday, at their hosts’ Walter Rohrer Stadium.
Liv Grenda got things started for the Rams, scoring four minutes into play. After that, although the Rams dominated on offense, they were unable to find the net again until Hailey Primwhere took a pass from Sophie Craig with five minutes remaining in the first half to give Pennridge a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Rams’ offense went into a frenzy in the second half, with Grenda scoring, following by three consecutive goals by Craig, two with assists from Grenda and one assisted by Joey Tomlinson. Tomlinson scored with an assist from Craig, then Shaeffer capped the day with a goal, assisted by Ryan Hodder.
“It’s great to open up with a big win,” said Grenda, a sophomore. “We definitely have a target on our backs but that pushes us to want to work hard so we can hopefully win another state title.
“We’re in a tough conference (Suburban One League Colonial Division) but that is really good preparation for us. That really challenges us and helps us get better.”
She was a freshman on last year’s varsity.
“It was a good experience to be a freshman on last year’s team,” said Grenda, who is also a member of the Key Club at Pennridge. “It was really scary coming in but we grew together and that really helped us. We’re close off the field and that helped us connect on the field.”
She would like to play in college.
“That’s very important to me,” she said. “My older brothers both did sports in college.”
Brother Marco played soccer at Ursinus while T.J. ran track at Susquehanna.

Shaeffer, a natural forward, stepped up to play goalie last season when the Rams needed one, helping them to their second consecutive District One title en route to the state crown.
“I did play some goalie awhile back so I had some experience,” said Shaeffer. “We didn’t have a goaltender last year so I said I’d do it.
“I’m a forward so it’s completely different but as I said I had some experience and the defense was really there for me.”
She made one save in goal for the Rams.
Shaeffer hasn’t made a college choice yet but her leading school is West Chester. She plans to major in biology with an eye toward becoming a veterinarian.
Palisades, the District 11 Class 2A runner-up last season, knew what they were up against by scheduling the Rams.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking to play them, but we gave it our all,” said Palisades senior captain Kylie Schmidt. “We worked hard and we played great defense. There’s really nothing more you could ask for. I thought all of our players stepped up and did the best they could, especially the younger players.
“We didn’t quit the whole game. We kept working, no matter what the score, and I’m proud of us for that.”
Senior captain Lauren Housenick missed the game for the Pirates due to concussion protocol.
“I wish we could have had her for this game, but she’s coming back soon,” Schmidt said.
“This was such a hard game to open with but we learned a lot and it’s definitely going to help us this season. We’ll be ready for the harder teams.”
The Pirates fell in last year’s District 11 Class 2A title game.
“Last year was definitely a rough ending but it was good to at least go out at the district final,” Schmidt said. “We lost some good players to graduation but I think we still have a lot of potential, and I’m super excited to see what we can do.”
Off the field, Schmidt is an equestrian, specializing in English riding.
Aubrey Boushell and Brynn Chilton combined for 14 saves in goal for Palisades.


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