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RED HILL — Spring-Ford roared through its Pioneer Athletic Conference schedule undefeated, and was also perfect in four non-league contests.
But entering Tuesday night’s PAC-10 Final Four semifinal at Upper Perkiomen High School, coach Jennie Moore and the Rams knew they have yet to win an official league title to show for all their exploits and efforts.
With that in mind, the Rams went out and took care of business with a convincing 5-1 victory over Phoenixville to advance to Thursday night’s 7 p.m. title clash against Upper Perkiomen — a 5-2 winner over Perkiomen Valley in the other semifinal.
Junior forward Gabby Major powered home four goals to pace the Rams, who also got one goal from sophomore forward Emily Coyne. Junior midfielder Alyssa Chillano had two assists, while Major and senior defender Simone Vagnoni chipped in with single assists.
The Rams, who took a 2-0 halftime lead, also got six saves from sophomore goalkeeper Dante Vagnoni.
Senior forward Emily Chang scored for Phoenixville with 2:20 remaining in the second half. Senior goalkeeper E.J. Werner kept busy with 16 saves, including eight in each half.
The Rams (18-0 overall) won the Liberty Division title, while the Phantoms (13-5-1) finished as runners-up in the Frontier Division.
Spring-Ford had won the regular season meeting between the two schools, 2-0, on Oct. 6.
“We knew we had to come out and play hard because we had a close game with them earlier,” said Major. “We came out and played a frantic first half. But then we got things together after halftime and really played as a team.
“We settled down a little bit. That was our game plan.”
Major put the Rams in front to stay with a goal at the 17:48 mark of the first half with an assist by Chillano. Major hit her second goal on a rebound shot at the 5:05 mark.
Major said she and Chillano have developed great team chemistry with all of their experience playing together.
“We have been playing together for a long time,” said Major. “We have been meshing as a team. That is how we score goals. We are doing pretty well.”
Phoenixville had some good hits in the early going by Shannan McErlean and Bailey Quinn. Moore was concerned about that.
“They (Phantoms) had some great opportunities in the beginning of the game,” said Moore. “If they would have scored there, it would have changed momentum. Thankfully, our defense came up when they did today.”
The perfect record put some added pressure on the backs and sticks of the Rams.
“We definitely knew that we were undefeated,” Major said of the one-game situation. “That was in the back of our minds. There was a little pressure, but we just have to keep playing.”
The Phantoms knew they were going to have their hands full with the Rams.
“It was a tough game,” said Werner. “We knew coming in it would be a tough game. But we have an amazing defense and I couldn’t have done it without them. Spring-Ford has a really good team, but I am still proud of our girls. I am really proud of what we have done this year. And we still have districts. We will practice and have fresh legs and be ready to do our very best at districts (next week).”
“We can take time to prepare for districts next week. We haven’t had a lot of time to have a really hard practice to prepare for really big games like we will have next week. We can do it.”
Phoenixville coach John Tornetta said the Phantoms can use the lessons learned from combat against talents like the Rams to benefit their chances in districts.
“We wanted to come in and get a game against a team like Spring-Ford,” said Tornetta. “We knew coming in it was going to be tough. They are really strong. I haven’t seen a team like them. They are so quick, and they are still able to control the ball. It is amazing.”
“We use the PAC-10 as a stepping stone for districts and states. We have to stay together so that good things can still come for us. These girls have been playing together for a long time. They have worked hard all these years. We want them to end with something positive. We want them to enjoy it and just have fun.”
The Rams will concentrate on Upper Perkiomen, the Frontier Division winner, at practice today. The Rams edged the Indians, 3-2, back on Sept. 20 while playing without the services of Chillano — who was in Mexico for the Pan-Am Games.
“It is going to be a great game,” said Moore. “They are a great team. It is going to be a dogfight. We are looking forward to it and we have to get ready.”
Spring-Ford held a 15-8 advantage in corners. ... Ali Meszaros had several good clearing hits for Phoenixville.
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