Pennridge upends N.penn
Seven years of losing to the North Penn water polo team only made the 11-8 win that much sweeter for the Pennridge boys on Thursday. As the clock ran GRZn Ln WKH IRurWK TuDrWHr, the Rams felt like they were walking on water.
The Rams spent years and countless hours looking for the formula to knock off last yHDr’V (DVWHrn CRnIHrHnFH champs. They found it within the dedication they put toward meticulous defense. The Knights tried to use their speed to catch up to a 3-1 GHfiFLW DIWHr RnH TuDrWHr, but never could pull even.
“There dedication to one DnRWKHr KDV SDLG RII,” RDPV’ coach Ken Vincent said. “TKHy GLG HxDFWOy ZKDW ZH wanted to as far a defensive game. We could not let North Penn run away with the score and the guys SODyHG SrHFLVH GHIHnVH.”
It was senior Josh Apple’s job to mark the Knights’ nuPbHr RnH VFRrLnJ RSWLRn, BrHWW (OVH. WKLOH (OVH WDFNHG on a few goals late to keep LW LnWHrHVWLnJ, WKH firVW WKrHH quarters were won by Apple and the Rams’ defense. ApSOH, ZKR nRW RnOy DGGHG D JRDO DnG WKrHH DVVLVWV, PDGH fivH VWHDOV DnG rHFRrGHG IRur fiHOG bORFNV.
“They tried to beat us and JHW DrRunG uV, buW ZH VWDyHG LnVLGH,” ASSOH VDLG. “I KDvH been playing against Brett for a while and he is real good. I did my best to contain him and the rest of the WHDP VWHSSHG uS.”
The Knights were well aware the Rams were payLnJ HxWrD DWWHnWLRn WR WKHLr WZR-PHWHr RIIHnVH, buW ZHrH unable to connect from other positions in the pool. They Knights connected with the cage’s crossbar far too often to keep up with the rapidly improving Rams. The Rams’ offense was led by David Zurmuhl with four goals and 0LNH /DZVRn, ZKR VFRrHG three times.
“We are all getting betWHr HvHry GDy Ln SrDFWLFH,” Apple said. “We are meshing right now and it’s a great win to win against a team like this. Last year was the firVW yHDr IRr D bunFK RI Rur guys and now we are makLnJ LW KDSSHn.”
The Knights lost many varsity players from last year’s WHDP, ZKLFK ZHnW WR WKH VWDWH championship game. HowHvHr, RSSRVLnJ WHDPV GR nRW
know the names, just that the light blue caps are typically seen as the measuring stick around the area.
“We have one varsity player that came back,” Knights’ coach Jason drubb said. “We DRH VWLOO WRyLNJ WR fiNG RuR LGHNtity. Every team is looking to beat us. Pennridge played a great game tonight and deserved to win.”
The Rams will celebrate WKH NLJKW WKHy fiNDOOy fiJuRHG out the Knights, but then it is back to business for a busy weekend of tournaments. sincent did not need this monumental win for the program to know he had the athletes to be in this position.
“They now know this is a sport where we can compete,” sincent said. “We can play head-to-head with anyone in the state. I don’t believe this win takes my expectations up any because with this group my expectations were already in the stars.”
The North Penn girls’ water polo deals with the same target that the Knights deal with, but handled the hungry Lady Rams with some ease. It was the Rams’ sictoria Redmond’s early goal the reminded the Maidens they could not afford a slow start.
“I have been in this for many years, so I am used to the competition,” Maidens’ coach Bill Bartle said. “But all of the credit goes to the girls. We may have come out a little slow offensively, but they played strong defense and that is all you can ask.”
The Maidens did not allow DNRWKHR JRDO DNG uVHG D fivHgoal third quarter to earn the 10-1 win. Jenn Halcovage scored three goals and Aspen Trautz tallied four scores in the victory. The Maidens jumped on every loose ball and paddled the length of the pool for high percentage scoring chances.
“There are things we need to improve on, but I am happy the way our girls played,” Bartle said. “We have always had the philosophy that you win with good defense. This year we have a balanced team, but a ways to go.”
The Rams were encouraged by its defense during WKH fiRVW 14 PLNuWHV, ZKLFK had them within an arm’s reach at 4-1, but are still looking for the formula that works best for them. The Rams moved players all over the pool and though they came up empty too often, they remain positive about their bright future.
“We had a good half were a lot of our girls continued to show improvement,” Rams’ FRDFK 5yDN GRLIfiWKV VDLG. “We passed the ball well and had great team defense. lur lack of depth, where North Penn has 20 girls that can jump in hurts us. This is an eye-opener for our girls. These are the teams we need to beat.”