Con­estoga falls short in over­time

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Steve Sher­man ssh­er­man@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Buck­sLo­calS­port on Twit­ter

LANGHORNE >> Fac­ing top-seeded Ne­shaminy in a Dis­trict 1 4A semi­fi­nal Wed­nes­day night at Harry Franks Sta­dium, the bus car­ry­ing the Con­estoga team ar­rived a lit­tle late to the matchup in Bucks County.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing that their late ar­rival didn’t af­fect his fourth-seeded Pioneers, firstyear head coach Ben Wil­son ad­mit­ted his team never caught up to the Lady Red­skins (19-1-1) in a 1-0 loss. The Red­skins are headed to their first Dis­trict 1 fi­nal un­der third-year coach Chelsea Lovelace.

“Ne­shaminy de­served to win,” ad­mit­ted Wil­son. “The level that we were play­ing at isn’t the level at which we nor­mally play.

“We were just a step slow tonight — a step slow to all the 5050 (balls),” Wil­son said. “It’s been a long sea­son. Eventually, these games catch up with you.”

Con­estoga will host Cen­tral Bucks South Satur­day to de­cide third place and set the seeds for the state play­offs.

Af­ter Ne­shaminy blew sev­eral scor­ing chances in the first 15 min­utes, the Pioneers (15-2-4) seemed quite con­tent play­ing the Skins in a mid­field game. De­fen­sively, the strat­egy worked for the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion run­ners-up, who held Ne­shaminy score­less — for the first 80 min­utes.

“They’re con­tent play­ing the ball around and then they kind of look for a de­fen­sive er­ror to try to find a goal,” said Lovelace. “I think there was a cou­ple times where we did lose our fo­cus in the back but I think we took care of it for the most part.”

Un­for­tu­nately for the Pioneers, they couldn’t keep the ’Skins from scor­ing in the ex­tra ses­sion. Fi­nally break­ing a score­less tie just 4:43 into over­time, Ne­shaminy fresh­man Kristin Cur­ley scored on a set piece, get­ting on the end of a throw-in from ju­nior Jenna Obringer.

Cur­ley took a flick from sopho­more Brooke Mullin and top-shelfed a ball from the top of the box for the game’s only goal, send­ing the Skins to Satur­day’s D-1 title tilt against No. 3 Pen­nridge, which needed a 10-round penalty kick ses­sion to get past sev­enth­seeded CB South.

The Ti­tans will be Con­estoga’s next op­po­nent and the Pioneers will host the Cen­tral Bucks team, also on Satur­day, in a bat­tle for third place. Ei­ther way, ‘Stoga is headed to states. If they win Satur­day, they take on the Dis­trict 11 champ on Tues­day in a PIAA opener. Lose, and they face the Dis­trict 12 cham­pion in the first round of states.

In this game, the best chance for ei­ther team to score in reg­u­la­tion came in the fi­nal min­utes of the sec­ond half. With seven min­utes re­main­ing, Con­estoga ju­nior re­serve mid­fielder Emily Maneri blasted a wicked shot in on the Skins goal that Ne­shaminy sopho­more keeper Ri­ley Spin­gler put a stop to.

“Maneri’s been great,” said Wil­son. She started out the sea­son not play­ing a whole lot; she ac­tu­ally had mono at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and that re­ally af­fected her.

“But as the sea­son has gone on, she’s just been get­ting more and more play­ing time.

“Since we’ve been in the play­offs, she’s re­ally com­ing to life. Her pres­sur­ing up top and in at­tack­ing mid – wher­ever she’s at – I think it’s a real game-changer for us.”

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