Pioneers repeat as District One Class A champs
The Christopher Dock girls’ soccer team had the ability to move senior captain Shea Neal from forwDUG WR KROGLQJ PLGfiHOG this season because of the youngsters that emerged up top for the Pioneers. Their emergence allowed the girls to garner the top seed in the DLVWULFW 2QH CODVV A fiHOG and on Monday earn their second consecutive title with a convincing 8-1 win over Faith Christian Academy.
Neal made her presence IHOW RQ WKH fiUVW JRDO DV WKH standout sent a ball through a triangle of Lions defenders to the foot of sophomore Bailey Kratz, who netted the fiUVW JRDO LQ WKH fiIWK PLQuWH. Kratz, who transferred from 6RuGHUWRQ WKLV VHDVRQ, fiQLVKHG wLWK fiYH JRDOV LQ WKH championship game.
“I love playing defense and shutting girls down,” Neal said. “Bailey is there to kick in the goals and all of our girls can play at this level.”
Neal eventually traveled forward enough to net two JRDOV, WKH fiUVW FRPLQJ LQ the 26th minute of Monday night’s action at Walt Snyder Stadium. In the same minute the Lions scored their lone goal. Senior Rachel Shive tacked onto her school’s record goal mark (104 goals) with her penalty kick strike.
“Faith did us a favor by beating New Hope,” Pioneers’ coach Ray Hess said. “My initial thinking was we were going to put Shea on Shive, but I wanted to try out my young kids and see if they can play next year.”
Shive strived to cut the Pioneers lead down, but freshman defensive back Sharon Curtis drew the assignment of the Lions’ top target and contained her for the majority of the night. Curtis shadowed Shive up and down the fiHOG, wKLFK IUuVWUDWHG WKH entire Lions’ attack.
“Our young kids in the back truly know how to play some defense,” Hess said. “Sharon Curtis did one heck of a job on (Shive). That is the girl we needed to shut down and she was all over her. I did not know if she could handle her, speed wise, but she really did a fantastic job.”
While the Lions’ were limited on offense, the Pioneers continued to pile it on behind Kratz’ creative kicks. Sophomore Morgan Croissette capped off the scoring LQ WKH fiQDO PLQuWHV. 7KH Lions’ goalie Carien Barnes sprawled on several occasions and made 13 saves in defeat. Barnes was a bright spot in the Lions’ less-thanWKULOOLQJ fiUVW HxSHULHQFH playing in the fall, and in the fiUVW HYHU DLVWULFW 2QH CODVV A title game. The experiences of beating New HopeSolebury 1-0 in the opening round and reaching the brink of the state playoffs will be EHQHfiFLDO LQ WKH IuWuUH.
“We were excited that we beat New Hope and we got here,” Shive said. “There was nothing to lose. Carien had a shoulder injury and could not play in every game this season, but when she played she was awesome, especially against New Hope. She saved the team.”
The Pioneers will return to the Council Rock North on Wednesday where they square off with Lancaster Country Day School, the District Three runner-up, in the opening round of the state playoffs. There they are looking to improve on their second round exit from a season ago.
“Last year the (title game) was more intense, but it feels just as good to win again in districts,” Neal said. “I am really excited this year, because I feel like we are going to go really far. I have a lot of faith in our team.”