C.B. West stops Spring-Ford, 1-0

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

Af­ter be­ing de­nied in the semi­fi­nals of both the District 1 and PIAA Class 4A cham­pi­onships a year ago, the Fi­nal Four hur­dle might seem like a big one to the Cen­tral Bucks West boys soc­cer team.

Then again, it might just be the next step.

Tues­day night in the round that foiled the Bucks a year ago, they were the ones do­ing the foil­ing as ju­nior Jimi Leder’s first-half strike and an in­creas­ingly suf­fo­cat­ing de­fen­sive per­for­mance car­ried Cen­tral Bucks West to a 1-0 vic­tory over No. 2 Spring-Ford to earn a place in the District 1-4A cham­pi­onship.

C.B. West (18-2) will meet No. 4 seed Abing­ton — a 3-2 win­ner over No. 9 Unionville in Tues­day’s other semi­fi­nal — in the ti­tle game on Satur­day at 6 p.m. at Up­per Me­rion.

The Bucks are an in-form team af­ter knock­ing off No. 3 seed North Penn a round ear­lier, and now down­ing the No. 2 seeds. But C.B. West is ob­vi­ously tak­ing it all in stride.

“This is kind of just a step along the way,” ju­nior cap­tain Bai­ley Moyer said.

“We have a big­ger pic­ture than just dis­tricts. We’re try­ing to win states and go much fur­ther,” Leder said af­ter net­ting his 10th goal of the year.

Nev­er­the­less, it was a sat­is­fy­ing spot to sur­pass.

“It shows our im­prove­ment over the past sea­son and how ev­ery­one is work­ing and try­ing to sur­pass ev­ery­thing we’ve done in the past,” Moyer said.

Spring-Ford (17-3-3) had al­ready sur­passed its pro­gram’s past by mak­ing the semi­fi­nals for the first time and earn­ing a place in the PIAA play­offs. The Rams will take on Unionville in the district third-place game Satur­day 11 a.m. at Spring-Ford.

“They all held their heads up there at the end. They played hard, it just didn’t go their way,” Spring-Ford head coach Brent Kis­sel said. “We still have a chance to show the state of Penn­syl­va­nia what Spring-Ford soc­cer is about and we’re ex­cited for that op­por­tu­nity.”

A fast start by both teams made it look like it was go­ing to be a game with plenty of goals. While both teams’ pace, namely Spring-Ford’s Colin Trainor, Brett Gu­lati and Bran­don Duke and CB West’s Leder, Luke Fehrman and Moyer (a de­fender who started up top), car­ried a real threat, the Rams and Bucks de­fenses were on their games, too.

In the 21st minute, the game changed for good. CB West again at­tacked quickly and di­rectly to Mike Red­field who played a flick-on header for Leder. The ju­nior broke down the right de­ci­sively and played a quick, driven shot to the left, to beat Spring-Ford keeper Ray For­te­buono (three saves).

“I took a touch into space and I had the guy by about two steps and I just put it over the keeper,” Leder said.

Hav­ing con­ceded only 11 goals all sea­son, the Bucks of­ten need only one goal for goal­keeper Dy­lan Smith, who com­manded his area ex­pertly and had eight saves.

“We al­ways pound the ball for­ward, try to get one early and take it from there,” Moyer said. “We al­ways want to get the first one be­cause it’s harder to come back from (a deficit).”

Spring-Ford came close on a huge ball over the top for Trainor into the penalty area down the right, but Smith closed down well for the save with 5:45 un­til half.

The Rams’ other best chance came from Duke, whose great first touch gave him a mini-break­away, but his shot was low and at Smith with 31 min­utes to play.

As the sec­ond half wore on, the Buck­skins, with James Lutz, Nick Cen­ten­era, Reed Sturza and Red­field join­ing Moyer in the back, sucked the life out of the game while SpringFord’s sharp­ness faded to­ward the fi­nal whis­tle.

“I’m proud of how we played the game,” Kis­sel said. “We knew what they were go­ing to do, be di­rect and good in the air. We tried to not get stuck in their game and we did that and con­tin­ued to move the ball around but we just didn’t fin­ish our chances. Smith is a re­ally good goal­keeper and we needed to chal­lenge him more than (shoot) di­rectly at him.”

Mean­while, the Bucks will put an­other tight win in their back pock­ets and keep chasing their big­ger and bet­ter goals.

“Ev­ery­one has been buy­ing into the team and do­ing what we need to do to get re­sults every game,” Leder said.

Spring-Ford led in shots on goal 7-4 while CB West led in to­tal shots 9-8 and cor­ners 2-0.

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