Knights clinch playoff spot over Panthers


Erik Jesberger

The NP girls’ soccer team in the huddle, getting ready to go against the Quakertown Panthers

TOWAMENCIN- Emotions were as high as the moon hovering over the turf stadium at North Penn as the Knights solidified a spot in the playoffs.

The Knights (4-4-1) celebrated a 2-0 win over the Quakertown Panthers(1-8-2).  With the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth on a night dedicated to the 14 graduating seniors on North Penn’s roster, the Knights took no shortcuts in their preparation for their Tuesday night match. 

Erik Jesberger
The seniors celebrated their dedication to the team with a ceremony and win over the Panthers.

“Together as a team we really worked hard and have been working on being positive a lot in practice,’ said senior Marissa Werner.

Once play was underway, the strong defenses both clubs brought throughout the season were on full display as four North Penn corner opportunities were broken up by the Panthers, along with a save by Quakertown goalie, Morgan Sipprell, following a hook shot from the foot of North Penn junior, Grace Sacchetti. On the other end of the field, a brick wall by the name of Ashley Schmidt showcased a phenomenal performance in between the goalposts by knocking away the shots from the Panther’s offense in between a strong North Penn defense.

“The defense really stopped (Quakertown’s) attack tonight and put their all out there throughout the whole game. Even though the large crowd made me nervous at some points, it was an awesome event and I loved seeing the support for our team,” said Schmidt.

With 32 seconds left in the 1st half of play, the Knights struck first on the scoreboard, off of a corner from Grace Scacchetti which was headed into the back of the Panther’s net by North Penn senior, Lauren Ruth.

The 2nd half matched much of the similar action and defensive dominance that occurred in the 1st half. Corner attempts from both teams were sniffed out by defenders such as North Penn junior Emily Schurr and Quakertown junior Brenna Foster. The biggest stops of the night came with 9 minutes left in the 2nd half, where the Knights’ goalkeeper, Ashley Schmidt, made back to back saves off of a corner and rebound opportunity which left the Panthers still trailing by 1.

“The Seniors played well, they got a lot of playing time and they deserved it. Throughout the game I continued to tell them to track their runners on set pieces. We track their runners, they don’t have the 2 chances they could have finished which would have forced us to walk out of here 2-2, or 1-1,” stated Head Coach, Steve Whitby. 

Erik Jesberger
The night is set for what would be a great match and victory for the Knights

After a cleared ball from North Penn senior Zoei Baines, Ruth found herself with the ball splitting through the Panther’s defense. With almost a storybook ending to a night dedicated to her and her fellow senior teammates, Ruth dribbled around Sipprell in goal for the Panther’s. Ruth struck the ball into the top right corner of the net with 1.24 seconds left in the game.

“We made a lot of movement off the ball which created a lot of open spaces for us to score and I enjoyed scoring both goals because it’s Senior night, it’s our big night,” explained Ruth.

Ruth’s second goal of the night capped off a North Penn win as well as an outstanding performance by the seniors in a game seen by Whitby, as “a must win against a Quakertown team that is pretty good even though their record may not show it.”

The Knights are ready to get right back to work as playoffs get set to begin following the two matches the girls have left to play in the season.

“We have to build off of this win because we have two good opponents left to play before playoffs. With CB West on Thursday, (Archbishop) Ryan on Saturday and then back to CB South, it doesn’t get any easier for us. With this big crew of seniors, we are certainly gonna miss them next year, but with a playoff clinch tonight, we got more ball to play,”stated  Whitby.

North Penn plays on Thursday, the 11th, at Central Bucks West where the Knights will look to take down the Bucks.