After twice striking the goalpost a few minutes earlier, Pennridge girls soccer star Tori Angelo was determined to break through and hit the back of the net.
She did just that, scoring the winning goal with just three minutes left in the game as Pennridge (8-1) of the Suburban One League Colonial Conference notched a 2-1 victory over SOL Patriot member Council Rock North (7-2-1) on the synthetic turf field at North’s Walt Snyder Stadium.
With time winding down in the Thursday, Sept. 22 contest and the teams deadlocked at 1-1, Pennridge junior midfielder Liv Grenda picked up the ball and did some nifty dribbling up the center before laying off a pass to Angelo on the left side.
Shifting slightly back toward the middle to get a better angle on the goal, Angelo unleashed a hard twisting shot that curled around CR North goalkeeper Danielle Eden and into the top right corner of the net for Angelo’s fifth goal of the season.
“I knew it was coming,” said Angelo, a junior forward. “I just had to keep with it and strike the ball properly when I got the chance, and it happened.
“We had gotten a lot of shots the whole game, a lot of close shots we could have put in but just didn’t finish correctly. So, I knew when I got the ball I had to finish if we were going to win.”
A scoreless first half saw both teams get good scoring chances that were turned away, thanks in large part to fine work from Eden and Pennridge goalkeeper Seretha Demoss, and the defenders in front of them.
Grenda broke the ice with 16:26 left in the game, converting a penalty kick for her eighth goal of the season. Angelo was instrumental on that play too, drawing a foul in the penalty area that resulted in the PK.
Senior Ella Needham scored CR North’s only goal less than two minutes later, launching a very high arching shot from around 45 yards out that Demoss – reaching high – got her hands on but couldn’t prevent the ball from falling behind her and across the goal line.
“There was luck on that one,” Needham said. “It’s just instinct for me to take shots like that. I just went for it and hoped for the best.
“We knew Pennridge was a very tough team, but I really thought we brought the energy today. Tori Angelo is very tough and our main focus going into the game was to defend her and not give her too much space or time. It just didn’t quite work out.”
Second-half adjustments were key for Pennridge, Rams coach Audrey Anderson said while also crediting CR North’s defense.
“They don’t give us much,” she said. “We don’t get a lot of space in behind the defenders. What we talked about at halftime was just being a little cleaner with our pass selection, moving the ball a bit quicker and knowing better where to go to open up gaps.”
Pennridge made the key plays down the stretch, Council Rock North coach Gavin Flannigan said.
“That’s a tough team,” he noted. “I sensed a little tiredness on our team toward the end. On that winning goal, we were maybe a little slow defensively.”