For Pennridge, winning the PIAA Class 4A championship had some happy and sad aspects.
On Friday, Nov. 17, the Rams defeated Conestoga, whom they beat in the district final earlier this month, 4-1 to capture their second state title since 2018. The Rams previously won in 2020 and finished as runners-up in 2022.
“They really felt like there was some unfinished business last year, goals left out on the field that they can’t get back,” head coach Audrey Anderson said. “I definitely feel like that was a big motivating factor this year, making sure they took care of business.”
The win served as a storybook ending for the seniors. Though when the clock zeroed out, the sad reality was that they had played their final game together.
“It was an incredible feeling, but definitely bittersweet,” senior Liv Grenda said. “As amazing and joyful as it was, it was super sad, specifically for our team because we have been playing together for over 10 years, since we were very young, so it’s crazy that it’s all over.”
Pennridge’s roster consisted of 12 seniors who had been playing together for years, beyond the high school level. That experience playing with one another led to a stellar season, culminating in an undefeated record (25-0-1).
The Rams’ four goals scored in Friday’s contest were by Grenda, Anna Croyle and Hailey Primwhere (two). This season Pennridge outscored its opponents 137 to 6.
“Our connections on the field and off the field have definitely helped us,” Grenda said. “We are super united, like best friends, both on and off the field. I think those connections we have have really helped us be all together and have one common goal, that we’re going to fight for each other and do everything we can to play for each other in every moment in the game.”
Croyle’s goal, which was the second scored and the technical game-winner, was a head-in from a Sophie Craig corner kick.
“I was very happy I was able to score,” Croyle said. “But a lot of that credit goes to Sophie because she has worked so hard on her corners this year and has been so consistent. She just places them perfectly every time.”
Ahead of each game, the Rams would scrimmage their own players, preparing and strategizing for each team that they were facing. For Croyle, she believes that played a major part in the Rams’ success this past season.
“I think a huge part of our success goes to the people who don’t necessarily get a ton of playing time but are still really good soccer players that we scrimmage in practice,” Croyle said. “If we’re scouting a team, they play how we think that team is going to play to prepare us and they play well. That has helped us a lot throughout the season, being able to scrimmage against people that are so good and make us better.”
It’s hard not to look ahead and wonder what the Pennridge soccer program will look like following the departures of its seniors. The team is projected to have 15 returning players, including eight who are currently juniors.
“What I can say about Pennridge soccer is that next year, the next group of girls will step up and they will do whatever they can to build their own legacy and to reach that standard that is always put forth for a Pennridge soccer player,” Anderson said. “I have no doubts that next year might look a little different, but they will definitely play with the same integrity, the same drive, desire and determination that makes it special to play at Pennridge.”