Shortly after watching his team pull out a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Spring-Ford on Oct. 3, Boyertown girls soccer coach Bill Goddard's words were not only on point but prescient too.
"It was like a playoff game,' Goddard said. "They threw the kitchen sink at us. It was a good test for us. I'm sure we're going to see them again.'
A little more than two weeks later Goddard's words ring true.
Boyertown and Spring-Ford meet again — this time for the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship — Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. following the boys soccer final at Spring-Ford's Coach McNelly Stadium.
The undefeated Bears are shooting for a third straight PAC-10 championship after defeating Owen J. Roberts in successive finals, 3-0 in 2011 and 0-0 (5-4 penalty kicks) in 2012. It is Boyertown's sixth straight trip to the league title game.
Spring-Ford, on the other hand, is in uncharted territory after qualifying for its first PAC-10 Final Four this season. The Rams announced themselves in a serious way all season on the way to a 16-1-1 record.
The only team to put a dent in the Rams' record is their opposition in the final. The Liberty Division champion Bears, which went through the PAC-10 unbeaten this year (11-0-2, 15-0-2 overall), and runner-up Rams played to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 4 in their respective league openers before the aforementioned 1-0 Boyertown win on Oct. 3.
The Bears — a 1-0 winner over Phoenixville in the semifinals — have done it again with defense and depth. Boyertown starts eight seniors, including all four defenders in right back Marie Valenti, left back Emily Saxon and center backs Ashley Becker and Courtney Goddard. The defense in front of sophomore goalkeeper Sarafina Valenti is aided by sophomore defensive midfielder Maria Garofolo.
Senior forward Emily Diehl leads the line for the Bears and is complemented by a cast that includes seniors Jillian Bertino, Megan Diehl, Lily Fanok and Taylor Halteman, juniors Olivia Frazier and Kasey Sheahan and sophomore Taylor Sassaman.
Spring-Ford, under head coach Sheldon Chamberlain, features a massive threat on the attack with senior forward Aley Kate McKinley, senior midfielder Megan Giannopoulos and sophomore forward Gabrielle Vagnozzi. Giannopoulos, who had a hat trick in the Rams' 4-0 semifinal win over Upper Perkiomen, leads the team with 14 goals and five assists. McKinley is close behind with 12 goals and seven assists and Vagnozzi has chipped in three goals and seven assists.
The attack is bolstered by Brianna Cirino and Kat Connelly while the midfield features Sammy Stipa, Sarah Hancock, Julianna Radzinski and Haley Preschutti. The defense is led by Laura Suero, Kaitlyn Dougherty, Julie Pennington and goalkeeper Hope Davis.
Follow Austin Hertzog on Twitter @AustinHertzog