Bermudian Springs ensured its season will continue for at least one more week after winning its first District 3 playoff game in five years.
The Eagles knocked down their second barrier in two weeks. After posting their best-ever second-place finish at the YAIAA championships last week, the Eagles ended a four-game losing streak in District 3 play. Bermudian Springs beat Schuylkill Valley 2-1 on Thursday, the team's first playoff win since beating Hamburg, 3-2, in 2010.
"The girls wanted it," Bermudian Springs coach Neil Bixler said. "They played so hard and they played together. I mean, my God, did they play together."
But for the first 20 minutes against Schuylkill Valley, it looked as if that streak would grow from four years to five. The Panthers controlled the ball for the majority of that time, before a burst by Brooke Zuhr set up two shots by the Eagles' leading scorer, Kenzie Farley. Bixler called a timeout after both those shots were blocked, and the rest of the half belonged to Bermudian Springs.
Farley got another chance a few minutes later off a corner, and she finished this one off a perfect pass from freshman Kaitlyn McCollum.
"We were having so much trouble (with corners), so I went back to some notes I had from probably 10 years ago," Bixler said of a folder full of corner plays given to him by a college coach. "I said, 'You know what? We're just gonna change everything and put more on the circle and try to be more effective.' It's worked a little bit."
Five minutes later, Farley scored what turned out to be the deciding goal by racing past four converging Panthers defenders, juking the keeper and putting it past her. It was Farley's 62nd goal of the year, extending the school's career scoring record that she broke earlier this season.
"I knew I was going slower than what I can usually go, so I waited until she got enough to me, then accelerated around her, pulled around the goalie and shot it in," she said.
The win ensures that Bermudian Springs will play in at least two more playoff games this season, because the top five Class AA teams in District 3 advance to the PIAA state tournament. The Eagles can advance to states with either a win in Saturday's semifinals or two wins in a consolation bracket if they lose Saturday. The earliest they could be eliminated is Wednesday.
"From the beginning of the season I said I just wanted to make it past the first round," Farley said."That was my goal from the beginning of the season."
Schuylkill Valley01—1 Bermudian Springs2
First half — 1. BeS, Kenzie Farley (Kaitlyn McCollum), 6:45. 2. BeS, Farley, 0:29.
Second half — 3. SV, Emma Bressler, 2:56.
Shots on goal — SV 8, SV 7.
Corners — SV 8, BeS 9.
Goalies — SV, Sierra Pulano (6 saves). BeS, Madison Dewease (6 saves).