Times Chronicle & Public Spirit
Upper Dublin shuts out Hatboro-Horsham
HORSHAM >> Upper Dublin’s defense has been phenomenal this season. Entering Monday’s game against Hatboro-Horsham, the Cardinals posted shutouts in four of their five games. Make it five out of six. Upper Dublin scored early and kept the Hatters off the board to pick up a 1-0 Suburban One League Liberty Division win at Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School.
It was a team effort on the defensive end for the Cardinals (5-0-1, 4-0-1 SOL Liberty). Elias Abebe, Mason Pensabene, Reilly McLaughlin, Jack Sterling and Daniel Gorman all stood out while goalkeeper Gabriel Copley stopped all three shots he faced.
“We just talk really well on the back,” Abebe said. “We made sure to keep the shutout. We’ve only been scored on in one game. We just have to make sure we get one or two goals in and we’ll win every game.”
“It’s about heart,” UD’s Erik Petushi said. “Our defense takes pride in holding shutouts. Elias, Mason… and Gabe Copley’s a monster. He’s the best keeper in the league, all the credit to them. Then Reilly, Jack Sterling… Everyone just steps up and does their job. We take pride in that.”
It’s the third straight SOL Liberty shutout for Upper Dublin after blanking Abington, 0-0, in a 100-minute draw and holding Plymouth Whitemarsh scoreless in a 2-0 win.
“Abington and PW have the two best strikers in the league, I think,” Abebe said. “So it was a really good achievement.”
The game-winning goal Monday afternoon came in the seventh minute. Petushi took a free kick from just outside of the box to the left of the goal. His right-footed strike beat the keeper to the near-post.
“I saw the near-post open,” Petushi, who hit the crossbar on a free kick against PW, said. “The keeper was iffy on his positioning, so I tried to sneak it in the near-post. It worked out. It’s still a team goal, though. It’s not just my goal, it’s a group effort.”
“He’s been practicing those all summer,” Abebe said. “All summer that’s all he’s been doing — hitting those free kicks. It’s really good he got one.”
Hatboro-Horsham (4-2, 3-2 SOL Liberty) earned three corners in the first half to generate scoring opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net. Early in the second half, the Hatters had some quick passes lead to a good look in front of the goal, but Copley made a diving stop.
“Obviously didn’t create as many chances as we had hoped,” H-H coach Kyle McGrath said. “The goalkeeper made a great save in the first half on a corner kick. For whatever reason we just weren’t clicking offensively today.
“(Upper Dublin’s Daniel Gorman) is very good in the air. Anything in the air he’s winning and they’re transitioning. They tend to play in your end a lot which makes things difficult. Their back-four is solid. They are much improved from last year and they were good last year, they just didn’t have some results go their way. (UD coach) Noah (Johnson) is doing a great job over there. They’re difficult to break down, they’re big, they’re fast. We just weren’t able to compete with that today.”