Knights season ends in playback against Red Raiders

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TOWAMENCIN- The great season from the North Penn boys’ soccer team came to a close on Tuesday night in a heartbreaking loss.

With both teams looking to advance to state playoffs through the playback bracket, the Radnor Red Raiders (7th seed and 15-4-2 record) beat the North Penn Knights (3rd seed 18-3) 1-0 in a win or go home match.

The Knights came out fast and furious trying to get quick scoring chances against the strong Radnor defense and as usual, the Knights dominated possession time. Unfortunately for them the Red Raiders’ defense came through with constant stops.

“They shut us down, they did a real good job, they were organized, very organized Radnor was, and they shut down a couple of our key guys…Normally we create a lot of chances and we did not tonight so credit to the them defensively,” Head Coach Paul Duddy said.

Right before the end of the half, senior Jared Huzar was fouled right outside the penalty area and with the scoreboard approaching triple zeroes, the Knights hurried to get their free kick off. Junior Jamie Stewart kicked the ball and put a nice curve on it but it did not curve enough, as it just missed the inside of the post. The first half ended in a scoreless tie.

It was the same case for the majority of the second half, as the Knights kept the ball in Raiders territory. However, in the 74th minute, Radnor’s Bobby Hydrisko chip shotted the ball and senior goalkeeper Brett Schwengels came up with the save. Schwengels then came through again with a nice save in the 75th minute.

Then it was the Red Raiders’ goalie, Henry Cooke’s turn to save a few goals of his own. He saved Huzar’s shot in the 78th minute and 27 seconds later, saved a shot from sophomore Josh Jones.

The time was dwindling down and overtime seemed to be a likely outcome to most, but Jackson Birtwistle of the Red Raiders had different plans. He got the ball in North Penn territory and kicked a shot low and just out of the reach of Schwengels for a goal (80’) with only 19.8 seconds left on the clock. And with this, the Red Raiders went on to win the game 1-0.

This means the end of the Knights season as they finish with an 18-3 record, including a stretch where the boys started the season undefeated throughout their first 14 games of the season.

“We’ve had a great season, as bad as it feels tonight… and it’s just been a great run, a great team. Our seniors, many of them have played certainly three years, a few have played four years, and they’ve just contributed. We’ve had a tremendous run for the past three or four years… It’s a great group of guys and it just didn’t happen this year,” Duddy said as his final message of the season.

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