Dev­ers, Perk Val­ley down Potts­grove

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Austin Hert­zog ahert­zog@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @AustinHert­zog on Twit­ter

LOWER POTTS­GROVE » The Perkiomen Val­ley girls’ soc­cer team seems like it’s try­ing to change its rep­u­ta­tion.

Not that the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing ‘de­fense first’ is a bad one, but the Vik­ings have vi­sions of be­ing more at­tack-minded this fall.

Even the de­fend­ers want in on the act.

That was a good thing Tues­day af­ter­noon at Potts­grove, too, as se­nior left back Ali­son Dev­ers’ 40-yard thump 11 min­utes into the game served as the lone score in Perkiomen Val­ley’s 1-0 Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence di­vi­sional cross­over win.

The goals may not have flowed Tues­day against a Potts­grove side that is mak­ing noise as a con­tender in the Fron­tier Di­vi­sion, but the re­sult was the type that leaves Perk Val­ley (1-1 Lib­erty, 2-1 PAC, 3-1 over­all) op­ti­mistic.

“The sea­son has been re­ally good so far. It feels like our of­fense is some­thing peo­ple need to look out for. In other years, it’s been our de­fense that has been stronger than our of­fense, but it kind of feels like it’s turn­ing,” Dev­ers said. “Our of­fense feels like it’s turn­ing for the bet­ter.”

While the new iden­tity re­mains a work in progress, the de­fense can still guide PV, which earned its third shutout in four con­tests with sopho­more Ri­ley Hill (five saves) in goal, tak­ing over for the de­parted two-time Mer­cury All-Area first team goal­keeper Les­lie Adams (Siena Col­lege). The Vik­ings have only con­ceded two goals thus far — both to last year’s PAC cham­pion and PIAA semi­fi­nal­ist Owen J. Roberts.

“It feels like we still have a re­ally solid back line, but now that we can work for­ward and score, it feels good to think that we can start win­ning games in the PAC and be a threat and move on to dis­tricts,” Dev­ers said.

Potts­grove (2-0, 2-1, 3-2) feels like an in­creas­ing threat on the lo­cal scene and Tues­day was fur­ther proof de­spite the re­sult.

The Falcons cre­ated the bet­ter of the scor­ing chances in the sec­ond half, for­ward Sky­lar Glass go­ing close af­ter a long ball from Ciara Gar­cia 15 min­utes into the sec­ond half and Emily Vishio’s header off the cross­bar fol­low­ing a cor­ner with 19:30 to play count­ing as the best. Hai­ley Strain, ad­vanced from the back line for the clos­ing stages, weaved in to close range in the fi­nal minute but Vishio’s at­tempt in traf­fic was de­nied by the PV de­fense, led by cen­ter backs Kate Liotta and Kat Kel­ley and de­fen­sive mid­fielder Maddie Zielke.

“We have only one se­nior (de­fender Sarah Ry­backi), but have a lot of play­ers who have played var­sity more than two years. I’m en­cour­aged,” Potts­grove coach Steve Mel­lor said.

“(Perk Val­ley has) al­ways han­dled us pretty well but I thought to­day we had more of the play and enough looks that we have at least tied the game.”

While Glass, ju­nior mid­fielder Becca Delp and de­fend­ers Lana Sorg and Hai­ley Strain im­pressed, Potts­grove faces the task of get­ting the re­sults to match po­ten­tial.

“In the pre­sea­son, we weren’t as hard as we usu­ally are and I needed to re­mind them that you still have to play with a chip on your shoul­der and com­pete, mak­ing sure you’re win­ning balls and pres­sur­ing teams,” Mel­lor said.

It was hard to ex­pect need­ing to pres­sure Dev­ers 40 yards from goal af­ter Syd­ney Marasco’s long cross from the right was cleared. But the se­nior cap­tain with the big boot played the ball back into the area, bet­ter than she even ex­pected. The ball kept car­ry­ing into the up­per-left cor­ner of goal with Potts­grove goal­keeper Sum­mer Walker (four saves) only get­ting fin­ger­tips to it.

“It’s the out­side back’s job to clean up the ball and play it back into the box,” Dev­ers said. “Ev­ery now and then, it ends up go­ing to­wards the goal. Maybe you’re look­ing for the cross but it ends up be­ing a bit more, which feels re­ally good es­pe­cially be­cause I haven’t scored many goals in the past.”

AUSTIN HERT­ZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Perkiomen Val­ley’s Ali­son Dev­ers (5) clears the ball as Potts­grove’s Anna Crater pres­sures dur­ing Tues­day’s PAC cross­over game. Dev­ers scored the lone goal in PV’s 1-0 win.

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