Spring-Ford’s Dave Gulati moves the ball past Souderton’s D.J. Rostron during the first half of Spring-Ford’s District 1-AAA first round
Spring-Ford's Dave Gulati moves the ball past Souderton's D.J. Rostron during the first half of Spring-Ford's District 1-AAA first round match on Tuesday. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

ROYERSFORD — The District 1 Class AAA boys soccer playoffs have made it a habit of making records meaningless, leaving seeds useless.

In fact, Souderton goalkeeper Adam Strogis was more than happy to turn in his team's 7-9-2 regular season record for a new one.

"Everyone's undefeated,' the Indians senior said. "Everyone is 0-0.'

Strogis and his teammates can still boast their new-found undefeated mark. Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Spring-Ford cannot.

After playing to a one-goal tie through 110 minutes and going to penalty kicks, Strogis came up with a pivotal save on the Rams' David Gulati in the third round before Spring-Ford's Brian Gryscavage couldn't match Danny Sullivan's make in the sixth round, giving No. 27 Souderton a 1-1 (5-4 on PKs) victory over No. 6 Spring-Ford in the first round of the District 1-AAA playoffs Tuesday night at Coach McNelly Stadium.

Spring-Ford’s Jerry Williams controls the ball off his chest as he prepares to get by Souderton’s D.J. Rostron in the first half. (Photo by Tom
Spring-Ford's Jerry Williams controls the ball off his chest as he prepares to get by Souderton's D.J. Rostron in the first half. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

Dan DiLiberto scored the game's opening goal in the second half on a cross from Gulati, which served to ignite the Indians, whose goal came from Tylor Strozeski.

It was undeniably an upset to see the No. 6 Rams go out to the No. 27 Indians and a tough pill to swallow for Doug Landis' senior-laden bunch.

"We had the opportunity to do great things this year,' Landis said. "And not that we didn't — we had a nice winning record and the PAC-10 championship — but in my heart I really thought we could do much better in the postseason.'

Souderton, which finished fifth in the difficult Suburban One League Continental in the regular season, now has even bigger belief when they meet No. 22 William Tennent, an upset winner over No. 11 Upper Dublin, on Thursday in the second round.


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"We think we're a good enough team coming out of the Continental Conference to take on anybody,' Strogis said. "I think we can give anybody a good game. Anything can happen.'

The Rams didn't have anything to show for a dominant first half, which largely came back to bite them.

SpringFord’s # 19 Austin Betts controls the ball....Photo/Tom Kelly III
SpringFord's # 19 Austin Betts controls the ball....Photo/Tom Kelly III

"We came out slow. We saw them attacking and in my mind I thought, ' We are in for it,'' Strogis said of the Rams' early attack."I think we missed our chances in the game,' Landis said. "We played fantastic in the first half and in the second half we kind of sat back and you start giving up opportunities.'Spring-Ford scored when Gulati turned on the jets down the right side and sent a driving cross to the near post. Junior Dan DiLiberto, showing a true striker's instinct, got the necessary touch to redirect it into goal for the 1-0 lead in the 51st minute.

Souderton equalized with a crafty short free kick. The cross into the 18 was met by Tylor Strozeski, who beat Spring-Ford goalkeeper Pat Swartz to the right side of goal.

Souderton, which entered the game with a losing 7-9-2 record, showed plenty of tenacity to even the game. In fact, the Indians controlled play after the Rams got on the scoreboard.

It was the type of pressure Spring-Ford had rarely been under en route to a 15-2-1 mark entering the game.

The Rams eventually regained their footing and threatened late in the second half and into overtime.

The overtime periods were end to end but no goals occurred thanks to the play of Strogis and Spring-Ford goalkeeper Pat Swartz.

While Spring-Ford had just come off of a PK victory in the PAC-10 finals over Perkiomen Valley, it was a new experience for Souderton's Strogis.

"It was my first PK game. To be honest I had nerves. I thought I was going to throw up a little bit,' he said.

Through three rounds, Souderton led 3-2 after makes from Nick Stulb, DJ Rostron and Tyler Eckardt while the Rams saw makes from Jerry Williams, DiLiberto and the save on Gulati's low drive.

"After the first two went (to my) left I knew the third guy wasn't going to go left again,' Strogis said. "So I went right and he went right, I got a tip on it and it went out. I was so happy about that.'

Justin Rodzewich — who Strogis singled out as a key contributor through the contest — missed for Souderton and the Rams' Nick Bombard made to make the score 4-4. Andres Silva and the Rams' Kole Lyons matched each other in round 5 before Sullivan put Souderton up 6-5 prior to Gryscavage's miss.

For the Rams it will feel like another premature exit from districts after fielding such a strong lineup with seniors Williams, Gulati, Zach Collier, Bombard, Lyons, Luke Emerson, Gryscavage and Swartz.

"That's the big thing I'll ask myself. What can I do to prevent that from happening again?,' Landis said. "Getting one goal in the last two games isn't going to cut it at this level. In the end, we couldn't the job done.'