Knights fall to Bucks in shootout


Prasham Jobanputra

Junior Jamie Stewart sends the ball away, hoping to set up a goal for the Knights.

TOWAMENCIN-  It was an intense, chippy, and fast-paced game on the turf field that went all the way to a penalty shootout, letting everybody know what playoff soccer is all about.

Once the playoff bracket was released and the Knights beat Hatboro-Horsham, everyone knew the next game was going to be a good one.  The Knights only lost one game all season, and it happened to be to the Bucks in overtime, after the Knights blew a two-goal lead.  So, a rematch in the playoffs was destined to be a nail-biter.

The CB West Bucks (6th seed and 17-3 overall record) beat the North Penn Knights (3rd seed and 18-2 overall record) 1(3)-1(2) after a nerve-wracking penalty shootout in the quarter finals of district playoffs.

“Team comes here and beats us twice, they deserve credit, just have to give them credit,” Head Coach Paul Duddy said after the game.

The Knights, as usual, did not take long to get on the scoreboard as senior Jared Huzar scored (5’) off an assist from fellow senior Luke McMahon, and put the Knight up 1-0.  North Penn got the ball back near the CB West net but were denied a goal after a messy fight for the ball in the penalty area.  The Bucks were almost able to tie the game twice, but missed opportunities from senior Bailey Moyer and junior Jimi Leder kept the game at 1-0.

Ten minutes into the second half, a scuffle broke out between the players on the field after junior Ryan Stewart seemed to have been kneed in the head by a Bucks defender.  No yellow cards were handed out but the game got a lot more physical after that.  Junior Carter Houlihan received a yellow card on a questionable call and moments later, a North Penn assistant coach also received a yellow. Much later, the Bucks would receive a yellow as well.

Prasham Jobanputra
Junior Carter Houlihan uses some dribble moves to get past a Bucks defender.

The Bucks possibly got away with a hand ball and then a foul against North Penn set the Bucks up to tie the game.  And Leder came through as he hit the crossbar on his free kick and the ball bounced into the back of the net.  The score was 1-1 and would stay that way as the game headed into overtime.

Both teams put up a fair share of scoring chances, but neither team could come through with the winning goal and the game, after two overtimes halves, would remain a tie.

So on to a penalty shootout and the winner would advance to the semifinals.  Senior Brett Schwengels came up with saves on the first two CB West shots.  In between that, McMahon found the back of the net.  However, senior Aidan Jerome had his shot saved by the Bucks’ senior goalie Dylan Smith.  Bucks’ senior Colin Burns than put one in the middle of the net and shootout was back even at 1-1.  It was then Stewart’s turn for the Knights and he put the ball just a little too far left as he missed the net. CB West was able to score again but Houlihan followed with a score as well.  Smith then scored for the Bucks and followed that with a save off senior Jared Huzar’s shot to win the game.

“I think both teams had chances to win in regulation and the overtimes, but neither teams capitalized on that, (The Bucks) played very good defense, they played well… it gets to PKs and stuff happens that’s all,” Duddy said.

It was a tough loss for the Knights players to swallow after playing so well.

“It’s rough right now on all of us, but I think myself and the guys will use this as motivation and bounce back stronger because we know that we deserve a spot in states,” McMahon said.

After a very hard-fought loss, the season is not over for the Knights as they will still have a shot at making states even with their district championship hopes gone.

“I think our mindset for the rest of the season is that every game we play from now on could be the last game that we could ever play together.  We have to put that in our heads and do it for each other, not just ourselves,” Houlihan said.