Pi­o­neers re­peat as Dis­trict One Class A champs

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION - By An­drew Marcus

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.”

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