Hen­der­son works over­time

Roberts’ sec­ond goal puts War­riors in district semi­fi­nals

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Ed­die Levin

WEST CH­ESTER >> In what has been a mem­o­rable year for the West Ch­ester Hen­der­son boys’ soc­cer team it looked as though an­other Cen­tral League school was go­ing to be its kryp­tonite.

With Hen­der­son’s only loss this sea­son com­ing at the hands of Cen­tral League cham­pion and district tour­na­ment No. 1 seed Con­estoga, it ap­peared as though Lower Me­rion (16-3-2) was on its way of hand­ing West Ch­ester Hen­der­son (19-1-1) just its sec­ond loss of the sea­son in the third round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA tour­na­ment Satur­day.

But with just over two min­utes re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion, and fac­ing a 1-0 deficit, the War­riors got the equal­izer, be­fore find­ing the back of the net again early in over­time to notch the 2-1 vic­tory over the Aces and clinch their third state tour­na­ment berth (in­clud­ing two in Class AAA) in the last four years.

“We have a se­nior-laden team and be­fore the year started we had a feel­ing the state tourna-

“We have a se­nior­laden team and be­fore the year started we had a feel­ing the state tour­na­ment was a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity. To see this group have an­other crack in the state tour­na­ment means a lot but we still have plenty of work left in the district tour­na­ment.” – West Ch­ester Hen­der­son coach Sean Ryan

ment was a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity,” said West Ch­ester Hen­der­son coach Sean Ryan. “To see this group have an­other crack in the state tour­na­ment means a lot but we still have plenty of work left in the district tour­na­ment.”

Af­ter Lower Me­rion keeper Se­bas­tian Jenk­ins came up with two bril­liant saves, the War­riors earned a cor­ner kick. As Frank DeRosa lined up he saw a cut­ting Zach Roberts who got a head on the ball on the far post that seemed to be curl­ing to­wards the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.

With a con­tin­ued push, Hen­der­son had an­other op­por­tu­nity in the fi­nal minute, but as he did most of the night, Jenk­ins stoned

Ai­den McFad­den from point blank range to help send the game into over­time.

In the first ex­tra ses­sion, Hen­der­son had a di­rect kick from the 50-yard line. Try­ing to con­vert a play the War­riors run in prac­tice, se­nior Max Zandi drove a deep ball to­wards the back of the box that found the head of fel­low se­nior Roberts, who flicked far post into the net and sent the hosts on their way to the district semi­fi­nals Wed­nes­day night against Coun­cil Rock North.

“We work on set plays in prac­tice, but I knew I had to put the ball on the keeper and hope some­body would be there for the tip, and luck­ily Zach was there for the header,” said Zandi.

“I wanted to go back post but all I re­ally thought was scor­ing,” Roberts said. “Max hur­ried the play and

Lower Me­rion thought we would go down the line, which left me open. For­tu­nately I was able to score.”

“It’s al­ways nice to see things you prac­tice come to fruition,” Ryan said. “The boys have to ex­e­cute it and they cer­tainly did tonight. I re­mem­ber watch­ing Max (Zandi) and Zach (Roberts) in eighth grade and to see them now is one of the great plea­sures I have seen in my coach­ing ca­reer at Hen­der­son.”

Lower Me­rion took a 1-0 lead 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half when Tim O’Hare col­lected a cross from Max Shapiro be­fore mak­ing a move and drilling a shot that found the back of the net.

Forced to play a man down the fi­nal six min­utes of reg­u­la­tion and over­time, it ap­peared as though Lower Me­rion was go­ing to es­cape be­fore Hen­der­son

com­pleted its come­back.

Lower Me­rion will now get ready to take on Neshaminy Wed­nes­day in the play­back round, in hopes of keep­ing its state play­off hopes alive.

Lower Me­rion coach Nico Sev­erini said, “It was phe­nom­e­nal ef­fort and I am proud of the boys, but some­times you are on the un­lucky side of the stick. We have to re­group on Mon­day and be ready to play on Wed­nes­day.”

O’Hare added, “This loss stings, but we have to get over this loss, work hard to hope­fully get to states. We have to move past this and look for­ward.”


West Ch­ester Hen­der­son used an over­time goal from Zach Roberts to de­feat Lower Me­rion, 2-1, and ad­vance to the boys soc­cer District 1 Class AAAA semi­fi­nals.

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