Austin Found

Eve­land kicks Ken­nett into next round with over­time win­ner vs. Spring-Ford

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Austin Hert­zog ahert­zog@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @AustinHert­zog on Twit­ter

ROYERSFORD >> Very lit­tle oc­curred in slow mo­tion of Tuesday’s Dis­trict 1-AAAA boys soc­cer play­off game be­tween Ken­nett and host Spring-Ford.

Ex­cept the most im­por­tant mo­ment.

“A lot of pres­sure,” Ken­nett ju­nior Austin Eve­land said. “I was def­i­nitely think­ing of it in the back of the mind. Yeah, it was in slow mo­tion.”

Time stood still mo­men­tar­ily for the cen­tral mid­fielder as he buried the game-win­ning goal on a re­bound of fresh­man Daniel Kun­zig’s blast eight min­utes into over­time to send No. 21 Ken­nett to a 2-1 OT vic­tory over Spring-Ford and into the sec­ond round.

“It’s a shock. I love it,” Eve­land said. “We started off the sea­son not too well but just work­ing with the team we’ve been able to de­velop into a re­ally good group. I think we can go far.”

Kun­zig set up the Blue De­mons’ open­ing score for Ni­cholas Bri­son in the fi­nal minute of the first half which nul­li­fied Nate Al­ban’s open­ing goal for Spring-Ford.

Ken­nett (11-6-2), un­der coach­ing icon Mike Barr, who led pre­vi­ously led Strath Haven to great heights and was in­ducted into the Penn­syl­va­nia State Soc­cer Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion Hall of

Fame in 2015, ad­vances to face No. 5 North Penn on Thurs­day.

Spring-Ford’s sea­son comes to a dis­ap­point­ing end after show­ing many promis­ing signs un­der firstyear head coach Brent Kis­sel. The Rams won the Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Lib­erty Di­vi­sion and spent much of the league sea­son un­de­feated, but lost twice in a row to even­tual league cham­pion Boy­er­town and re­ceived a first-round exit in dis­tricts.

“We’ve had strug­gles in the post­sea­son, Spring-Ford has,” Kis­sel said. “We’ve only won one dis­trict game so it’s been dif­fi­cult for us to get th­ese win against non-league teams. I view the sea­son as a suc­cess for sure. No one ex­pected us to be where we were in the Lib­erty Di­vi­sion and have 12 wins. It’s not the way we wanted to end it but I’m proud of my guys and how they played.”

Spring-Ford’s se­nior group in­cluded goal­keeper Kyle Al­lan, Mike Dampf, Tyler Holms, Michael Hy­duke, David Keller, Drew Rheaume, Nick Murphy, Chase Parr, Chris­tian Djilo and Erick Ro­driguez.

The game was largely even through­out and well played with Ken­nett’s pos­ses­sion-ori­ented style while the Rams were the more di­rect team as it looked for op­por­tu­ni­ties for for­ward Hy­duke. Play ran through tal­ented mid­field­ers Ron­nie Minges for Spring-Ford and Eve­land for Ken­nett.

Minges sent a loop­ing cross to the far post for Al­ban for the open­ing goal at the 24:29 mark of the first half. Spring-Ford ap­peared on its way to a half­time lead but Kun­zig, play­ing on the right, broke on a quick counter and played in Bri­son, who shot across goal for the equal­izer.

The sec­ond half was back and forth the best chances com­ing on a give­and-go header from Minges that was saved by Moises Al­manza Romero (seven saves) and a near own goal for Ken­nett through Al­ban and Hy­duke’s pres­sure. The Blue De­mons nearly won it on Bri­son’s in­di­rect free kick that forced Al­lan into a su­perb save.

“I think we had our share of chances, we just couldn’t fin­ish in the run of play,” Kis­sel said. “We didn’t fin­ish on set pieces, cor­ners, which have been our bread and but­ter through­out the sea­son. Our guys were press­ing hard. Both their goals came on fast coun­ters that they got us on. They were able to cap­i­tal­ize on those chances.”

Im­pres­sive fresh­men Kun­zig – “Wait for him se­nior year,” said Eve­land – sent Ken­nett home win­ners with a quick break down the right to­ward the end line and hit a sharp shot saved by Al­lan (three saves). But the ball fell cen­trally for on-rush­ing Eve­land and he struck it into the open goal.

Not bad for a team that started 2-2-2 this sea­son and missed the dis­trict playoffs a year ago.

“The end of the sea­son we started win­ning some games in a row and our chem­istry went up,” Kun­zig said.

AUSTIN HERT­ZOG — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ken­nett’s Austin Eve­land, cen­ter, scores the game-win­ning goal in over­time against Spring-Ford Tuesday night

AUSTIN HERT­ZOG — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring-Ford’s Nate Al­ban plays a cross as Ken­nett’s Joshua Ramgano de­fends.

AUSTIN HERT­ZOG — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ken­nett’s Nik­las Pow­ell (18) and Spring-Ford’s Michael Hy­duke com­pete for a header.

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