It was another amazing regular season for the Tulpehocken High School girls soccer team. The Lady Trojans were 9-1 in the Berks League and captured their second straight division championship.
On Oct. 12, the Trojans went up against Fleetwood in the quarterfinal round of the Berks League playoffs. Tulpehocken played the Division 2 runners-up to a scoreless tie through regular play, plus two overtime periods. But it was Fleetwood that came out on top when they outscored the Trojans in the penalty kick portion of the match, 3-2.
It was a tough way to lose for a team that had such a successful regular season. Especially considering that the Trojans outshot Fleetwood though regulation and two overtime periods, 8-5. Jamie Fisher played well in net for Tulpehocken, making all five saves.
"We failed to capitalize on our scoring chances,' said Tulephocken head coach Paul Zerbe. "We had quite a few good looks, but didn't finish. We played well and outshot them, and had 10 corners.'
When nothing was resolved after the second overtime, the game had to be decided by penalty kicks. Nicole Mertz and Kristen Ziegler were able to get their kicks passed the Fleetwood goalkeeper, but the Tigers got goals from Kaylyn Oxenreider, Kayla Daniels and Haley Schappell scored for Fleetwood, giving the Tigers the 3-2 penalty shot edge.
Although the early ouster from the league playoffs was a disappointment for the Trojans, it has still been an amazing season. The Trojans are 17-2 overall and of their 17 wins, 14 were shutouts.
"The season went well,' said Zerbe. "We're happy that we won our division for the second straight season. We consistently had 15-16 players getting into the games and we stayed away from any significant injuries. We're very pleased that we won 17 of 19 games.'
What was the key to the success they have enjoyed this season.
"The experience of the players and the teams commitment to each other and the team to work hard and improve each day,' said the coach. "Our depth was also a big plus for us this year.'
Of course the season is hopefully far from over for the Lady Trojans. Tulpehocken is the defending District 3-A champions and they are certainly considered one of the favorites to defend the title.
The first thing they have to do is put the Fleetwood loss in the past, then concentrate on each game as it comes. Coach Zerbe is not worried about his team being able to do just that.
"The girls will be fine,' said Zerbe. "They know that they played well in that county game and deserved a better fate. They're excited and ready to move on to districts.
"Overall the keys to our playoffs will be to continue to defend well and to improve in our possession and combination play in the final third.'