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Penncrest boys savor first District 1 championship, a 9-4 win over Bishop Shanahan

Friday, 28th May 2021

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 5/28/21 – Staff Report

Even in 2014 when Penncrest won its first and only PIAA championship, the Lions failed to win a District 1 title.

So when Penncrest defeated host Bishop Shanahan, 9-4, Thursday for the District 1 AA crown – the school’s first district championship – the sense of history was not ignored.

“It really means a lot not just to the program, but to all the guys on the team,” said Penncrest senior goalie Andrew Wickman, who had 9 saves Thursday. “This is something we’ve dreamed about since we started playing together in 1st grade so finally being there feels incredible.

“It’s also great for the program to get back to the postseason success that Penncrest usually has while showing everyone out there that we’re back and ready to do some damage.”

The Lions started the season 8-0 and then went 2-7 over their final nine games before districts, falling to the No. 5 seed. Of course, playing all the top Central League teams in the final weeks surely helped prepare Penncrest for the post-season push.

After defeating Upper Moreland, 16-4, in the first round, Penncrest edged No. 1 seed West Chester Rustin as Wickman posted 21 saves and Stephen Woolery got the game-winner – with over 6 minutes to play. The Penncrest defense was suffocating at the end of that game and continued its clutch play Thursday when the Lions bolted to a 6-0 first-period lead and never let Shanahan back in the game.

“Andrew Wickman has been outstanding during the playoff run,” said Penncrest coach Wayne Matsinger. “And our D, led by Jake Kearney, Liam McAvoy, Bobby Sypher, Zach Puckett, Liam Fickes, has absolutely shut down opposing offenses.”

“I think the biggest key to that is the trust we all have in each other back there,” Wickman said of the defense. “We all know that every one of us from me, to the close D, to the middies can all make plays.

“That trust also makes communication a lot easier because if I call something out, people listen and execute it. Everyone on the defense has each other’s backs and I think it makes us that much better.”

Brennan Kaut (3G, 2A), Jason Poole (2G, 2A), Woolery (2G) and Trey Pompetti (1G, 2A) led the attack Thursday.

Penncrest opens PIAA play Tuesday vs. District 2 runner-up Wyoming Seminary at Methacton (6 p.m.). Shanahan plays District 3 third-place finisher Lampeter-Strasburg at Avon Grove (4 p.m.).

Matsinger said the tough schedule at the end of the year paid off for Penncrest, who got healthy once the post-season started. Shanahan had won the crowns in 2018 and 2019, also winning the state titles both years.

“Down the stretch when you face the #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, ranked teams in 3A with only one-half of a team due to injuries you learn to take your lumps,” he said, “but it makes you work harder and get better when the guys came back.”

“I think that stretched really humbled us,” added Wickman. :Before that we were 10-1 or 10-2 and thought nothing could touch us. But obviously we were wrong.

“As much as that stretch (hurt), we knew that we never wanted to lose like that again. That’s what really lit a fire under us to work harder than ever and come into playoffs swinging.”

Penncrest celebrates the District 1 AA championship – its first district title

Penncrest 9, Bishop Shanahan 4
Penncrest 6-0-1-2- 9
B. Shanahan 0-2-2- 0- 4

Brennan Kaut 3g, 2a
Jason Poole 2g, 2a
Stephen Woolery 2g
Trey Pompetti 1g, 2a
Dylan MacDougall 1g, 1a
Andrew Wickman 9 saves

Owen Mehok 1g, 1a
Devin Mullen 2a
Colin Gucwa 2g
Colin McGory 1a
JD Shimer 1g



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