The one time Wissahickon was actually able to get a shot past Scott Wexler, the Upper Dublin senior goalie who is undefeated in conference play, it rang off the inside of the right post, and stayed out of the net. It would be a missed opportunity which the Trojans wish they had back.
That scoring chance came in the game's 27th minute, and for the final 53-plus minutes of regulation, Wexler stopped everything that came his way, making eight saves to help lead the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the Trojans in a clash of Suburban One American Conference rivals at Wissahickon High School on Tuesday afternoon.
The win improved Wexler's and Upper Dublin's conference record to 8-0, keeping the Cardinals all alone atop the standings.
"It was the best I've ever seen him (Scott) play,' Upper Dublin coach Rick Schmidt said. "It was a team effort from top to bottom. Scott did it in back, the forwards did it up front and that's exactly what you want.'
Wexler made a number of huge saves in the first half, including two sprawling stops to keep the game scoreless going into the break.
While the play of Wexler made it possible for Upper Dublin (8-3) to come out victorious, it wouldn't have been possible without Upper Dublin's sudden burst of offense midway through the second half.
"It was huge (to get those goals),' Wexler said. "It took a bit of pressure off the defense, but we knew that once we got that first one, we had to keep coming out and try to get a second one and not pack it in. We had to keep coming at them.
And coming at Wissahickon is exactly what the Cardinals did until the end.
After spending much of the first half in their own zone, the Cardinals found their groove later in the game, as senior Zach Arnold sent an absolutely gorgeous cross to junior Sam Ecker, who beat Wissahickon goalie John Carrozza on the far side to put the Cardinals up 1-0 in the game's 57th minute.
Five minutes later, senior Glenn VanOrden scored an insurance goal to put Upper Dublin up 2-0. Ecker added his
"There really weren't a whole lot of adjustments at the half,' Schmidt said. "They had some opportunities and were getting some 50-50 balls and we tried to fix it the best we could. It happens.'
Wexler and the Cardinals' defense held their own until the end, dropping Wissahickon (8-3, 6-3) for the second time this season. Despite playing to multiple draws, the two wins this season were the first for Upper Dublin over Wissahickon, the Cardinals' biggest rival, in the four years in which Wexler has been on the team.
"It's great and it's a big pride thing to beat Wissahickon,' Wexler said. "We hadn't beaten them since I got here, so be able to do it twice this year means a lot.'
Late in the game, tempers started flaring between the two teams on the field, but by then, the game was already out of reach for Wissahickon and its coach, Stuart Malcolm, who said that his team needs to play for a full 80 minutes if it wants to win.
"If you don't compete, you can't win games,' he said. "We competed in the first half, but unfortunately we couldn't score. You have to put the ball in the net and we didn't and they did. We just needed to compete in the second half. It's as simple as that. You have to want to win it.'
The 8-0 start in conference play is the best that the Cardinals have had in years. Schmidt credits the entire team, from top to bottom, for the current state of Upper Dublin soccer.
"These guys want it,' he said. "They work very well together and I'm proud of that fact and I want them to continue to do that for the rest of the season.'