Pa. Boys: Tues. Pa. boys: Lower Moreland reaches final

Posted: October 31, 2013

On the bus ride home from Council Rock North on Tuesday night, Lower Moreland boys' soccer assistant Joe Hodgson told Lions head coach Matt Crouch that there was something special about his team.

The senior-laden bunch had just edged Pottsgrove, 2-1, in the District 1 Class AA semifinals, and Hodgson said he saw a group of players who had become friends outside of just being teammates.

"They have a lot of chemistry," said Crouch, who took over in 2009. "Before, it was just them showing up for soccer. They play together, and they really enjoy each other."

Tahir Mohammed, a senior, scored twice, including the winner early in the second half. His first goal came off a scrum after a corner kick and was assisted by Dylan Morganstein.

His second, which Crouch called "a big-boy goal," was again assisted by Morganstein. Morganstein, a senior left striker, found Mohammed with a cross from the left side, and the right striker slid in for the finish.

Sophomore Phil Madden earned the win with seven saves, but it was Zach Fanok who made the game's key stop.

With Lower Moreland trailing by a goal, the senior fullback found himself as the last defender after Madden had moved away from the goal. A Pottsgrove shot found its way past the goalie, but Fanok stood on the goal line and headed it away.

"That it was the turning point for us," Crouch said. "That goal really would have taken the wind out of our sails."

Pottsgrove played a man down, but Crouch said the Falcons played strong as they adjusted their lineup by swapping a defender for an attacker.

The win puts Lower Moreland into Thursday's final against Holy Ghost Prep at Council Rock North. The Firebirds eliminated Lower Moreland in last year's semifinals and have beaten them twice this year.

But, a 2-1 loss earlier this month was an improvement from the 5-0 thrashing Lower Moreland received in September. Crouch said the loss gave his team "a little taste that they can hang, and something to look forward to."

"You're in high school and they're in high school," Crouch said he tells his team. "At any given day, one of us could break out and have that game."

Holy Ghost Prep 6, Pope John Paul 0 - Mike Kirby scored four times, and the Firebirds rolled at Council Rock North.

The junior striker scored his team's first three goals before adding one in the second half. He also had two assists.

Sophomore Matt Lingerman earned his 11th shutout with just one save. Holy Ghost will play in its fourth straight championship game. It has won the past two finals.

"Good players," Firebirds coach Kenneth Lawson said was his team's key to success. "It's a good group of kids, and they keep working hard."

Friends Schools League Semifinals

Jesse DiLuizo emerged from a scrum in front of the net after a free kick to score the winner late in the first half, and Westtown topped host George School, 1-0.

In the other semifinal, Shipley scored in overtime to move past Friends' Central, 2-1.

Public League Class A final

Chase Nasife, a junior, scored twice, and Philadelphia Academy Charter topped Prep Charter, 2-1, in the Class A championship game.

His goals came in the 15th and 35th minutes. Mike Brown earned the win with nine saves.

Inter-Ac League

Connor Gregor's two goals guided host Haverford School past Penn Charter, 4-0. Peter Blynn and Matt Mayer scored once each.

Cole Grims netted the winner with two minutes left, and Episcopal Academy nipped visiting Malvern Prep, 2-1, in double overtime.

Grims dribbled the ball 35 yards before firing into the net.

Churchmen senior Joshua Wilson scored in the second half. He has scored four goals in his last four games.


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