Haverford sinks Rustin in OT
HAVERFORD >> As the ball bounded off Ali Murphy’s head Tuesday night, the sophomore didn’t need to see where the shot landed.
Everyone else on the field at Haverford High’s A.G. Cornog Stadium was transfixed by the looping trajectory, arcing gently toward an open goal. But Murphy was already looking for a teammate to hug in celebration.
The Haverford winger knew she had headed it true the moment she connected on Grace Drames’ cross — and a moment before she absorbed a collision with a West Chester Rustin defender and goalie Nicole Cousens — as the Fords earned a 2-1 win in overtime of the opening round of the District 1 Class 4A soccer tournament.
“Right when I headed it, I knew it was going in,” Murphy said. “So I just turned around and ran toward everyone on my team and hugged them all.”
The victory moves the No. 13 Fords (15-3-1) to the second round Thursday against No. 4 Conestoga, which beat the Fords 2-1 in their regular season meeting. It’s also, according to coach Alexandra Hill, the program’s first postseason win, at least in recent memory.
The Fords had the better of play in overtime, but they missed a golden chance five minutes before the goal, when Annalena O’Reilly played in Amelia Durfee behind the defense. Durfee’s shot trickled, though, agonizingly wide of the post, a missed chance that the Fords didn’t rue.
O’Reilly opened the scoring less than two minutes into the second half on a stirring strike from the top of the 18. Nora Janzer slipped her in behind on a 2-on-1, and O’Reilly blasted a high shot Cousens couldn’t handle.
With 38 minutes to defend a lead, the challenge was clearly set for Haverford’s defense. They got through the first 20-some minutes, but eventually Kendall Ammerman beat the Fords’ offside trap in the 68th.
The backline of Drames, Maddie Santoro, Clare Janzer and Brianna Blair had effectively maintained a high line to repel Ammerman’s speed on through balls. But they slumped for a brief moment, allowing Ammerman to latch onto a long ball from left back Emily Betchyk, bomb in alone on goalie Alison Durfee and rifle a shot low and hard to Durfee’s right.
Both sides grappled with adjustments. For Ammerman and No. 20 seed Rustin (11-8), it was acclimating to the offside trap with a changed formation, putting Ammerman alone up top. Drames and her backline, meanwhile, had to grasp Ammerman’s tendencies. Once they did, the load lightened.