High School Soccer

D12 HS boys soccer playoffs play-in reports, quarterfinal previews

Public League play-in games

On Oct. 17, Division A seventh place team South Philly faced off with Division B second place Palumbo with the winner earning a place in the quarter-finals. South went up one before Palumbo came back to tie the game on a kick that went half the distance of the field and beat the goalie on the bounce. South Philly’s number ten, Joseph Koroma, a fast ball-handler, took matters into his own hands when his team won a corner, stroking a curving ball directly into the net for a sensational goal. Palumbo hadn’t given up though, and won a penalty and finished it and the teams finished level at 2-2 after regulation time.

Both teams played tough defense in overtime, getting five guys behind the ball. But this is high school ball, remember. A tackle forty yards out allowed Palumbo a chance after sustained pressure from South. The ball was nicely placed between the eighteen and South’s keeper, but no-one got there. The next time down, South Philly was able to sling in a cross, and finish that with a well-placed header.

The goalscorer, Jit Bhattari needed a translator, so teammate Govinda translated. When I asked what he thought about when the cross came in, he explained, “I thought, ‘I’m going to score.’ That is pretty much what I thought every time I scored. Of course, I thought that a lot of times when I didn’t.”

Jimmy O’Karma, Palumbo coach, said, “I couldn’t be prouder of their effort. I’ve got two guys out there can barely walk, and they’re still out there.”

Eighth place Division A team Franklin Towne Charter faced first place B Division team Olney. FTC found a goal about twenty four minutes into the first half, when Anthony Velecce corralled a ball inside the eighteen, beat one defender, and smashed home. FTC was organized, moving the ball quickly, and usually use the long clearance to spring the attack. Olney, on the other hand had composure on the ball and preferred to move the ball on the ground. It might have been too much composure, as some Olney players were guilty of holding on to the ball too long. Number seven in their midfield particularly impressed with his ability to carry the ball past defenders.

Olney would win a penalty eighteen minutes from time but it was poorly taken and FTC keeper, Brion Murphy, who made the requisite save. Rain began to fall in the last fifteen minutes of the game, and though Olney tried they were unable to convert possession into a goal.

One conclusion I have from watching the parts of these two games I was able to fit in between my team’s practice, and running home to my wife and eighteen month old, was that Palumbo and Olney are ready for the A division. I do not expect either of them to go back down after one season.

In the NE A Division, fifth place finisher Prep faced off with MaST Charter, beating them 3-0. It is unclear why MaST Charter is allowed to play in the Public League play-offs, when the school refuses to participate in the season, or why they don’t play-in somewhere higher than against the bottom play-off qualifier.

Sixth place A Division Fels faced off with first place C division team, undefeated Kensington. Kensington lost 1-7.

Quarterfinal previews

At 3pm on Tuesday, Oct. 22, first place Northeast takes on eighth place FTC at at NE Supersite. In the regular season this was a close game, with Northeast narrowly edging out Franklin Towne, 3-2. Expect a tough game that will be decided by a small margin.

At 5pm at NE Supersite, second place PACHS takes on seventh place South. PACHS won this game 2-0 in the regular season. However South just pulled off a nice play-off victory, and will be riding that.

On Tuesday at 3pm at Simon Gratz Supersite, third place Central will face sixth place Fels. When the teams met a month ago, Central dominated, coming away with a 7-0 result. Fels has improved since then, getting results against good teams, particularly in their victories over Washington and South and will be entering the game with five straight wins. Since I coach Central I will refrain from making a prediction.

At 5pm at Simon Gratz Supersite fourth place Washington takes on fifth place Prep Charter. Washington’s end of season form has been sensational, defeating Prep Charter 1-0 on Oct. 12, and NE a few days before that by the same scoreline. The team went from bad results to big successes. Prep has had the opposite trajectory, starting the season 4-0 and since then going 3-3-1. Prep has some great players, but a Washington win is expected here.

In the play-ins there were no upsets. While in each of these games, the higher seeded team has won the regular season contest, each team has demonstrated improvement with results since then. It is likely that there will be at least one upset in the quarterfinals.

Catholic League match reports

On Oct. 16, Wood produced the surprise result of the year, defeating nationally ranked Father Judge, 1-0. The goal came from a corner delivered by Danny McDonald. Tommy Rosenbaum trapped the corner and beat the keeper from 14 yards out. In the win, Wood’s Ryan Hemsley produced his 8th shutout on the season with 11 saves. Nationally ranked Judge threw everything forward in the second half, but lost for the first time this season. This result highlights the unpredictability of the upcoming playoffs, where results can go any way, and the first goal can be the winner. Coach Joe Krantz said of the result, “We’re very happy with it. We struggled early on [in the season].” Krantz highlighted how the skill of his keeper had held offensively husky Judge.

In the eighth versus ninth place play-in on Oct. 18, Bonner beat O’Hara, 1-0. Inquirer reporter Mark Macyk wrote, “John Mathis made eight saves, including one from point blank range in the first half, and then another big stop with three minutes remaining, to preserve a home shutout . . . Alex Turner scored the winner from ten yards off an assist from Sean O’Connell thirty minutes into the first half.”

In the other play-in game, Ryan beat Conwell-Egan 1-0. Macyk reported, “Joe Stock crossed the ball to Monte Guess, who proceeded to knock in the game’s only goal 20 minutes in.”

TEAM

GP

WINS

LOSSES

TIES

POINTS

GF

GA

GD

Father Judge ***

11

10

1

0

30

30

4

26

St. Joseph’s Prep ***

11

9

1

1

28

23

7

16

Roman Catholic ***

11

8

2

1

25

18

6

12

LaSalle ***

11

8

3

0

24

36

9

27

Lansdale Catholic ***

11

7

3

1

22

19

8

11

Archbishop Wood ***

11

6

4

1

19

13

8

5

Archbishop Ryan ***

11

3

6

2

11

11

16

-5

Monsignor Bonner ***

11

3

6

2

11

9

18

-9

Cardinal O’Hara ***

11

3

7

1

10

11

17

-6

Conwell Egan ***

11

2

8

1

7

5

21

-16

Archbishop Carroll

11

2

9

0

6

7

33

-26

Bishop McDevitt

11

0

11

0

0

5

40

-35

Catholic League quarterfinals preview

Father Judge will face Bonner in the first versus eighth place game. Judge won the regular season fixture 5-0. While Judge has recently lost a close game, they are still the best team in the area.

St. Joe’s and Ryan will meet as second place faces seventh. St. Joes beat Ryan 2-0 back in September.

Roman will face Wood. Roman did well to finish the season in third place, but Wood will be on a high having beat Judge. Roman, on the other hand, will remember beating Wood 2-1 on Oct. 14, just a few days before.

In the pick of the bunch, fifth place Lansdale Catholic will face fourth place La Salle. In the regular season, LaSalle won 2-1, but Lansdale has played tough all year and will not give up easily.

3 Comments

  1. Tom Crossett says:

    Josh, you are way off base calling Judge the best team in the area. They are good, just not that good. Best in PCL, maybe but we will see. I would submit in Suburban League, they would have several losses.

  2. Thanks, Tom. Yeah, I guess I mean in D12 which is just CL and PL, but I’m aware that in District 1 there are a lot of teams that would challenge them. States are coming and then results will tell us how good they are- assuming they make it through D12 playoffs.

  3. On the NCSAA site, there are only two local teams in the top twenty five- Father Judge at 25 and Cumberland Valley at 17.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>