Long shot lifts ’Stoga to district play­off win

DiRico’s 40-yard blast lifts Pi­o­neers past Haver­ford

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bruce Adams badams@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @mline­s­ports on Twit­ter

TREDYFFRIN » With in­ter­mit­tent rain blow­ing across Teamer Field Thurs­day evening, Con­estoga and Haver­ford were locked in a score­less tie with only eight min­utes to go in their sec­ond-round District 1 4A play­off con­test.

Con­estoga ju­nior mid­fielder Rachel DiRico broke the dead­lock, scor­ing from nearly 40 yards out with 7:28 left to give the Pi­o­neers a 1-0 win.

“I was try­ing to hit a long ball to Caitlin Dono­van on the far post,” DiRico said. “The ball took a weird bounce, and it went in. I was re­ally happy when it went in be­cause I thought that maybe the game would be go­ing to over­time [if we didn’t score soon].”

Con­estoga head coach Ben Wil­son said, “Rachel has come up with big plays, game-win­ning goals, all sea­son long. She’s scored in four of our last five games.

With the vic­tory, No. 4 Con­estoga (14-1-4) ad­vances to the third round to play No. 5 Spring-Ford Satur­day. SpringFord de­feated 21st seed Coun­cil Rock North, 3-1, Thurs­day.

For Haver­ford (15-4-1), the loss marks the end of a fine sea­son, one in which the Fords ad­vanced to the sec­ond round of Dis­tricts for the first time un­der fourth-year head coach Alexan­dra Hill.

The in­ter­mit­tent rain made Thurs­day’s game a low-scor­ing af­fair. Both coaches praised the per­for­mance of their re­spec­tive back­lines.

“The rain neu­tral­izes the game, par­tic­u­larly for an at­tack­ing, pos­ses­sion-based team like ours that moves the ball on the ground,” Wil­son said. “The ball skips, but we

re­al­ize that we might have to play in the rain any time. We played against Ri­d­ley [Sept. 29] in the rain and won 2-0. I tell the girls that, in the rain, get your whole body be­hind the ball so it doesn’t skip past you. Our back line of [sopho­more de­fender] Jor­dan Roe and [se­nior de­fender] Dana Cic­chitti did a great job tonight.”

Hill said, “Our back line, [se­nior] Bri­anna Blair and [se­nior] Maddie San­toro, did a great job . ... And our goalie, [sopho­more] Ali­son Dur­fee, has only al­lowed six goals this sea­son and we’ve [recorded] 14 shutouts.”

Ac­cord­ing to Roe, the key to the Pi­o­neers’ de­fense Thurs­day evening was com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“I thought Dana and I did a good job of com­mu­ni­cat­ing and cov­er­ing for each other tonight,” said Roe. “You re­ally had to watch the ball, not let­ting it bounce [too much] - some­times it would skid.”

Haver­ford, which was the 13th seed and de­feated No. 20 seed West Ch­ester Rustin in the first round of Dis­tricts Tues­day, 2-1, had played Con­estoga ear­lier in the year (Sept. 27) and lost a nar­row 2-1 de­ci­sion.

Hill said, “I am so proud of my team tonight, and es­pe­cially the way they fought so hard to the end. It wasn’t like a [typ­i­cal] 4-13 [seed] matchup. Our play­ers weren’t scared on be­ing un­der­dogs. We’ve come so far in the four years I’ve been here. Last year we lost in the first round, and this was the first time since I’ve been here that we made it to the sec­ond round of Dis­tricts.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Above, Haver­ford’s Amelia Dur­fee (2) chases Con­estoga’s Rachel DiRico, right, who scored the game’s only goal in Con­estoga’s win over Haver­ford Thurs­day night. At left, Con­estoga play­ers em­brace DiRico (2), af­ter she scored the game-win­ner.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga’s Ceara Sweeney (24) heads the ball and holds off Haver­ford’s Amelia Dur­fee (2) dur­ing Con­estoga’s win Thurs­day night.

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