Conestoga rallies to win showdown

Posted: October 07, 2012

Alex Bouhdary really wanted to be out on the field for Saturday's highly anticipated nonleague soccer game against the Haverford School.

But the Conestoga striker broke both bones in his left leg during a Sept. 20 game against Springfield (Delco), and his leg was in a cast. So the senior did the next best thing: He asked Pioneers coach David Zimmerman if he could speak to his teammates at halftime. Zimmerman gave him the last minute of intermission, and the result was an emotional speech that Zimmerman called "heartfelt" and "fiery."

"Everyone got really pumped, and in the second half, we went out with better intensity," junior Thijs Everts said.

After hearing what Bouhdary had to say, host Conestoga, The Inquirer's No. 5-ranked team in Southeastern Pennsylvania, went out and scored two second-half goals on their way to defeating the top-ranked Fords, 2-1, at Teamer Field.

Originally scheduled for a few weeks prior, rain forced the game to be rescheduled, as both teams had been looking forward to the matchup for quite some time, even before they faced off in a scrimmage during the preseason.

The Fords won that scrimmage, leaving the Pioneers with extra motivation.

"We wanted to get revenge and win this game," Everts said.

Motivation was also provided by the fact that Zimmerman is a graduate of the Haverford School, giving the game "extra meaning," the coach said.

The Pioneers (10-3) scored both their goals off set pieces. With the wind at his back, senior Bryan Kozlowski sent the ball flying inside the 18-yard line, where it found of the head of Everts both times.

"I was just up there, and I know my job," Everts said. "I have to skim it and try to get it on goal."

Beautifully headed, both goals were out of reach for Fords goalie Jeff Green.

For the Pioneers, it was only the second win of the season in which they allowed a goal; Sam Bowen scored it for the Fords (8-2-1). This season, the Conestoga defense has been stellar, allowing four goals in the 12 games before Saturday.

"We've lost some games, and so people are looking at other teams as the team to beat," Zimmerman said. "For us, this was a statement game."

Haverford School   1 0 – 1

Conestoga   0 2 – 2

Goals: HS-Sam Bowen; C-Thijs Everts 2.

Saves: HS-Jeff Green 4; C-Brody Schofield 4.


Contact Kate Harman at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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