Spring-Ford moves a win away from states

Rams take care of WC East, 12-7

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Se­nior

ROY­ERS­FORD » Fol­low­ing last week’s Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship vic­tory, sev­eral SpringFord play­ers spoke of last year’s ex­pe­ri­ence at the PIAA tour­na­ment as a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for the team this sea­son.

Mak­ing their first ap­pear­ance in states in pro­gram his­tory, last year’s Spring-Ford squad had the mis­for­tune of draw­ing Catholic League and Dis­trict 12 cham­pion La Salle, who bounced the Rams from the tour­na­ment. This year’s se­niors vowed to re­turn to states this year for an­other op­por­tu­nity to prove their met­tle on the big stage.

Af­ter Thurs­day night, the Rams are just one step away from that sec­ond chance. Spring-Ford topped WC East, 12-7 in their dis­trict opener, mov­ing into the Dis­trict 1-AAA quar­ter­fi­nals in the process.

The Rams got goals from four dif­fer­ent play­ers — Collin Pet­tine, Jar­rod Marenger, Pey­ton Gensler, and Brad Hart — in ex­tend­ing their lead to three goals in the third quar­ter. They tacked on four more fourthquar­ter tal­lies, while the de­fense with­stood a late East rally, leav­ing SpringFord one vic­tory from a re­turn to states.

It won’t come eas­ily, how­ever — the No. 5 seeded Rams (16-4) will travel to defending Dis­trict 1 cham­pion and No. 4 seeded Con­estoga Satur­day, with the vic­tor au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fy­ing for the PIAA 3A tour­na­ment.

“When we go into these big games, in years prior, the older guys re­ally step it up and show the younger guys the ropes — I’m look­ing for­ward to be­ing the one to do it this year,” said Spring-Ford goalie Kyle Pet­tine.

A loss won’t mean the end of the road for ei­ther

side Satur­day, how­ever. The los­ing team will move into a play­back bracket to de­ter­mine the fifth and sixth berths in states (in all, six Dis­trict 1 teams will qual­ify.)

Both teams seemed slug­gish at the start, as re­peated turnovers plagued both sides until se­nior Ryan Rosen­blum broke the ice for SF at 4:29 with a laser from the top of the box. Pey­ton Gensler tal­lied two min­utes later, and Kyle DeCe­rio made the lead 3-0 with nine sec­onds re­main­ing in the quar­ter.

Mean­while, the Rams made life mis­er­able for East on the of­fen­sive end, con­tin­u­ing to ha­rass the Vik­ings into turnovers and low-per­cent­age shots on the net.

Af­ter start­ing the sec­ond quar­ter by killing off a two-minute man-up sit­u­a­tion, East seized mo­men­tum for the first time with a Joe Carozza goal at 9:44. Bryant Maits fol­lowed at 5:15 to cut the Rams’ lead to one, but Jar­rod Marenger took ad­van­tage of a care­less East turnover to stop the run and put the Rams back ahead by a pair.

But Mike Nagel got the goal back for East with 28 sec­onds to play be­fore half, send­ing the Vik­ings into the locker room down just one goal.

Carozza and Ja­cob Greiner had two goals for the Vik­ings, who ended their sea­son 9-10 over­all. WC East, the No. 21 seed in D1, reached Thurs­day’s game by up­set­ting CB South, 12-8.

“We lost eight key play­ers to in­jury this year,” pointed out WC East coach Jim Schorn, “so I feel like we over­achieved this year, to come out here and hang tough against a team like Spring-Ford.”

Gensler and Marenger led the Spring-Ford at­tack, each reg­is­ter­ing a hat trick, while Rosen­blum and Hart added two tal­lies a piece.

“It’s a lot harder to play de­fense on six guys than it is to play against two guys,” said Marenger. “If we can share the wealth, get every­body in­volved of­fen­sively, it’ll be key go­ing for­ward.”

Kyle Pet­tine turned away 11 East shots, turn­ing in a stel­lar ef­fort that he hopes to re­peat Satur­day.

“The whole de­fense,” Pet­tine em­pha­sized, “we’ll all need to step up on Satur­day.”

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring-Ford’s Pey­ton Gensler piv­ots the other way while be­ing guarded by a pair of West Chester East de­fend­ers, in­clud­ing Sam Pfaff (27), dur­ing a Dis­trict 1-3A play­off game Thurs­day at Spring-Ford.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring-Ford’s Jar­rod Marenger (33) looks to get past a West Chester East de­fender dur­ing a Dis­trict 1-3A play­off game Thurs­day at Spring-Ford.

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