BOYERTOWN — As a longtime assistant at Boyertown, first-year Phoenixville head coach Tim Raub likely had a scouting report on just about every Bears player ahead of the season's first meeting between the two-time defending Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Bears and Frontier Division-leading Phantoms.
Not to worry. The Bears were happy to unleash a performance no scouting report could stand up to.
A fast start and a goal within a minute from Taylor Sassaman was only a prelude as Boyertown stayed on the gas and Jillian Bertino scored a pair of pretty goals as the Bears bounded to a 5-0 victory over the Phantoms Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Emily Diehl crucially set up the Bears' opening goal just 32 seconds into the game. Following Bertino's goals, the first in the final minute of the first half, Taylor Halteman blasted No. 4 for Boyertown and Olivia Frazier closed the scoring on an assist from Kasey Sheahan.
A win over a Phoenixville team that has had more regular season success than any other Frontier Division school in recent years was pleasing for Boyertown. The performance made it all the sweeter.
"I think that's probably the best game we've played so far this year,' senior Bertino said. "We came out a lot more focused than we've been in the past few games. That really had an effect on how we played.'
At 7-0-2 in the PAC-10, Boyertown is yet to lose a league game this season. But, according to head coach Bill Goddard, the team's play hasn't been quite what it will take to make a third-straight PAC-10 title and a deep run at districts a reality. Until Friday.
"Two weeks ago we were winning games but we weren't playing well,' Goddard said. "We're starting to make that gradual incline. We are starting to figure out rotations, roles, responsibilities and when you get that understanding with the effort and enthusiasm they played with (Friday) that's the kind of result you get.
"They are a great group. There isn't a selfish bone in their bodies. They all want the same thing; They want to succeed and do well.'
For Phoenixville, Friday wasn't indicative of the season to date. The Phantoms (6-2 PAC-10) had already knocked off three Liberty Division opponents, the first time a Frontier Division team has accomplished the feat since the league went to two divisions in 2006.
"That's not the way we play,' coach Raub said. "I really don't know (why the team was flat). We've got to be better job. We'll get right back at it to try and figure things out.'
For a team that had looked like an upstart contender in the PAC-10, Raub hopes Friday serves as a wake-up call to what it takes to truly be in the championship conversation.
"It had better. Upper Perk is breathing down our necks. Right now they are tied with us on points and we have to do our jobs in the coming division games to battle out of it,' Raub. "It's not going to be easy. Pope John Paul II is playing better, Upper Perk is on fire, Pottsgrove you don't get a lot of chances on.'
By game's end, Boyertown coach Goddard was especially pleased the result had little to do with a chess match between a pair of former coaching cohorts.
"That was in the back of our minds (that Raub knows the Boyertown squad well),' he said. "We've scouted them, they've scouted us. When you look at the perspective of the game, it had nothing to do with me, nothing to do with him, it was about our players and his players and execution.
"Timmy's done a nice job with them in his first year. They are a little younger than we are; we're very senior laden. We have a little more experience and I think that came into effect today for us.'
That experience showed almost immediately after the opening whistle through Diehl, a senior forward-turned-midfielder.
"Emily Diehl right off the bat set the tone of the game for us,' Goddard said. "We win the ball deep in their end, she gets to the end line and sets up Taylor Sassaman. Scoring early was really important for us. That set the tempo of the game for us. Sometimes when you score that early there's the tendency to just relax and they never did.'
The Bears remained in control and nearly got their second on a great chance for Frazier right in front of goal 16 minutes in, but Phantoms center back Lahela Worley ably snuffed out the chance at the last second.
Boyertown was rewarded 37 seconds before halftime when sophomore midfielder Maria Garafolo played a long through ball down the left side for an on-rushing Bertino. Bertino got to the ball ahead of the Phoenixville goalkeeper, who had come off her line, and sent a beautiful bending left-footed shot into the top left corner to stake the Bears a 2-0 lead.
The long through ball in between Phoenixville defenders was a preview of things to come in the second half.
"Especially this game we were able to find through balls (past the defense) to share the ball more and getting crosses off which give everybody opportunities to shoot and score more,' Bertino said. "We talked about that a lot at halftime — and we figured it out throughout the game and it registered in us — that we were faster than them on the outside and it made it a lot easier to get through balls in and get around their defense.'
Bertino made it 3-0 when, with her back to goal on the left side, she pirouetted and lofted a shot to the far post.
"I was kind of just winging it and it went in,' Bertino said of her creative finish.
Eight minutes later Halteman sent a rocket to the top right corner for 4-0 and Frazier finished off the scoring with 7:49 remaining in the game.
Boyertown's dominance came in the form of a 14-1 shots on goal advantage and 23-1 lead in attempts at goal. Phoenixville keeper Bri Cooley made nine saves. Counterpart Sarafina Valenti needed just one save.
Garafolo was especially dominant on 50-50 balls and the entire midfield pressed hard when the Phantoms had possession and regularly jumped passing lanes, namely when Phantoms playmaker Cecilia Knaub was the intended target.
"Taylor Sassaman, Maria Garofolo and the midfield were unbelievable as always,' Goddard said. "And the back four — Emily Saxon, Courtney (Goddard), Ashley Becker and Marie Valenti — were great. Sarafina (Valenti) didn't have to do much today.
"We preach team, team, team and on any given night it can be anybody. (Friday) we shared the wealth. It was a really good performance for us.'
Follow Austin Hertzog on Twitter @AustinHertzog.