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Ruth and clean sheet from Schmidt leads Knights to 2nd round

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Ruth and clean sheet from Schmidt leads Knights to 2nd round

The Knights stand for the National Anthem right before the first whistle of their playoff game against the Avon Grove Red Devils

The Knights stand for the National Anthem right before the first whistle of their playoff game against the Avon Grove Red Devils

Erik Jesberger

The Knights stand for the National Anthem right before the first whistle of their playoff game against the Avon Grove Red Devils

Erik Jesberger

Erik Jesberger

The Knights stand for the National Anthem right before the first whistle of their playoff game against the Avon Grove Red Devils

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TOWAMENCIN- With a blockade in net provided by the Knight’s defense, an offensive charge led by senior Lauren Ruth was all North Penn needed to secure a round 1 win in the PIAA District 1 tournament.

The North Penn Knights (14th seed) hosted the Avon Grove Red Devils (19th seed) Tuesday night in a win or go home playoff matchup.  With a shutout provided by North Penn’s goalkeeper, Ashley Schmidt, along with 2 goals in each half by the Knight’s offense, North Penn would top the Devils 4-0.

“We are really hungry and want to make it farther so we were really eager to get onto the field and do our best. We play with a lot of offense and we work until we can’t work anymore and that ball is put in the back of the net,” explained Ruth.

This appetite to play was evident throughout much of the first half, where North Penn controlled the momentum as well as ball possession for much of the first half. North Penn would convert their first goal when Ruth connected with Zoei Baines, who would beat the Avon Grove goalkeeper, Megan Kristman, with 19:45 left in the 1st half. Ruth would tally up her first point of the night by picking up an assist following the Baines lefty shot goal and give the Knights an early 1-0 lead.

“Lauren’s a top-quality player and she provides the intensity and spark right off of the get go. You don’t really want to defend against her cause she’s tracking you down, if you have the ball at your feet you better watch because she’s coming,” said Knights’ Head Coach, Steve Whitby.

Ruth would demonstrate her offensive skill in the game by scoring the second and third goals of the match, which would give North Penn a 3-0 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.

“Lauren and all of the seniors bring something to the table every game, and everyone brings something. We were all focused on getting goals early and that really helped us propel us throughout the later parts of the game,” explained Senior, Megan Coulton.

The strong defense and goaltending performances by the Knights, including a phenomenal leaping save by Schmidt, held the Red Devils scoreless in their short-lived playoff run, and Knights head coach, Steve Whitby provides his insight into his squad’s defensive dominance.

“It’s a save that Ashley (Schmidt) will tell you she’s gonna make a hundred times. She had a great performance and she was in the right position to make those saves. We kept possession of the ball a lot more than they did and it’s gonna be tough to beat us if we play like that,” explained Whitby.

The Knight’s offensive performance would be capped off with a Sophia Broadhurst bottom shelf goal with 6:04 left in the contest. As the final seconds dwindled away on the clock, so did the Red Devil’s season, however on the other side of the field, North Penn knew they were moving on and their next game means a third meeting between North Penn and the 3 seed, Pennridge.

“Massive task Thursday night and it’s gonna be everything. For my money, the two strongest teams in our area and it’s going to be a wild one,” explained coach Whitby.

The players on the North Penn girls’ soccer squad have a similar vibe going into their next postseason matchup.

“We have so much energy going into this game and yeah our record and past games show we lost to them, but I think all the girls have such a positive attitude and we are looking to take them down,” said Schmidt.

The Knights will be on the road to play the Pennridge Rams Thursday in round 2 of the PIAA District 1 playoffs.

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Ruth and clean sheet from Schmidt leads Knights to 2nd round