Both Souderton and West boast identical 7-1 records in conference play. If both win on Wednesday – the Indians will travel to Central Bucks East and the Bucks will host Pennsbury, the two teams will share the SOL National Conference crown. For the Indians, it would be a share of their second consecutive title. For the Bucks, it would be a share of their first since 2001.
For the team’s four seniors – Tillger, Elle Ueland, Jacq Fitzgerald and Paige Savard, the night was especially significant.
“The past couple of years – and even watching our older sisters – we never really beat Souderton or North Penn, and coming in our senior year and being able to come out with wins against those two teams – especially Souderton, undefeated in the league – to come out with a win and be tied with them with one more league game to go, that’s huge for us,” Ueland said to SuburbanOneSports.com.
The visiting Bucks appeared to be in complete command when – after taking a 6-3 halftime lead – they opened up an 8-3 lead after back-to-back goals by Finley Ueland and Bryn Boylan in the opening minutes of the second half. But the Indians had other ideas, making it an 8-6 game after back-to-back-to-back goals by Brittany Roynan and a pair by Natalie Bulgier.
The Bucks appeared to have regained command after a 3-1 burst. It began with Boylan and Souderton’s Krista Schneider exchanging goals, and then – after a nifty Boylan interception near the Indians’ goal – it was the sophomore standout finding Jacq Fitzgerald for the score. Two minutes later Tillger found Finley Ueland for a goal that put the Bucks on top 11-7 with 7:28 remaining.
Again, the defending champions responded, reeling off four unanswered goals in a dazzling two-minute span. It began with a free position goal by Juliana Ofalt, and then it was Bulgier finding the net on a free position. Ofalt won the ensuing draw, setting the stage for a Roynan goal 38 seconds later.
West coach Tara Schmucker called a timeout, but Souderton won the draw out of the timeout, and then it was Roynan somehow avoiding the Bucks’ defense and finding the net with 4:13 remaining to knot the score 11-11.
After Tillger’s go-ahead goal, Maddie Maio and Roynan both went down after a nasty collision going for the ball. The Indians were awarded possession with 23 seconds remaining but never managed a shot.
“I’m so proud of them for a lot of reasons this season,” Schmucker said. “When we played top teams in the past, we’d just be more intimidated, we’d come out flat.
“They have not done this year. Whether it was Souderton, Owen J Roberts, CB South or North Penn, I just thought they came out really strong, which I’m really proud of. They never gave up the fight, and they kept adjusting the whole game, and I thought that was a key thing.
“I’m just proud that they came together and they never get frustrated with each other. They’re a really great group of girls to work with.”
The key, according to the team’s seniors, was teamwork and intensity.
Final scoring stats show Finley Ueland leading the Bucks with four goals while Boylan had a hand in five with three goals and two assists. Fitzgerald had a pair of goals, and Tillger had one goal and two assists. Elle Ueland had one goal and one assist, and Maio added a single goal. Boylan and Tillger had five and four draw controls respectively.
“Finley had some smart challenges and good shots today,” Schmucker said. “On defense, Katie Holt played a solid game with two caused turnovers and three ground balls.
“Defensively – although the hard drives from Souderton were difficult to defend, the girls got some big charge calls and rebounds to help keep us in the game.
“I have to acknowledge the whole team, honestly. At any point in time, we have 12 girls on the field that can make an impact and that is what makes this group to special to coach.”
For the Indians, Roynan had four goals, Bulgier added three while Schneider, Ofalt, Carlie Doughty and Amber Lambeth each had one.
PAC-10 semifinals at Upper Perk
Owen J. Roberts 16, Pope John Paul II 8
Methacton 14, Phoenixville 13
Kerry Huzzard had seven goals and an assist and Morgan Stone scored three goals to lead Owen J. Roberts, the top seed from the Liberty Division.
Methacton set up an all Liberty Division final with a hard-earned 14-11 triumph over Frontier Division champion Phoenixville (11-8, 7-6).
Kate Cressman had four goals and one assist for the Golden Panthers (6-7, 8-10).
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