Holy Ghost Prep three-peats

Lower Moreland goalie Phil Madden makes a sliding save against Holy Ghost Prep.        ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Lower Moreland goalie Phil Madden makes a sliding save against Holy Ghost Prep.        ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 02, 2013

A lot of things felt familiar for Holy Ghost Prep on Thursday night.

The Firebirds were the top seed in the District 1 Class AA boys' soccer tournament and in the title game for the fourth straight year. Their opponent was Bicentennial League foe Lower Moreland, a squad Holy Ghost had already beaten twice this season.

It seemed only appropriate then that the player who gave the Firebirds a 1-0 win - and their third straight district championship - was none other than Tim French, a senior midfielder whose consistent play has become a mainstay for Holy Ghost over the last few seasons.

"We definitely came out not knowing if this was going to happen, but we never had a thought in our mind that we were going to lose this game," French said.

While many of the variables were things the Firebirds (16-4) have become accustomed to, their play in the first half, and even the opening minutes of the second, was unfamiliar.

Lacking pace and a solid first touch, Holy Ghost was only a shell of its usually disciplined and tactically sound self against Lower Moreland (10-8) at Council Rock North.

"This is a team that we beat twice during the season, but we couldn't look at this game as just another win," French said.

"It's a whole different circumstance, whole different situation. We knew we had to take this game seriously."

Calling Michael Kirby's pass "the perfect ball," French scored in the 71st minute, burying a shot past the goalkeeper after Kirby, a junior, had gotten to the outside and beaten a defender on the flank.

"We just didn't give up," French said. "We kept taking shots, getting chances. We had some chances where it didn't work out, but I knew we were going to get one."

After the whistle sounded and the Firebirds received their medals, French took the trophy, put it over his head, and shook it.

It wasn't the first time he had the opportunity to celebrate like this, but there is one thing he'd like to experience for the first time - a state championship.

The state tournament begins Tuesday.

Lower Moreland 0 0 – 0

Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 – 1

Goal: HGP-Tim French.

Saves: LM-Phil Madden 6; HGP-Matthew Lingerman 1.


rallysports@phillynews.com

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