Friday, December 26, 2014

More thoughts after Father Judge's classic victory in state semis

Wow. That's really the only thing I can still say after Tuesday's PIAA AAA state semifinal between Father Judge and Unionville, a 2-1 double-overtime victory by Judge. It was an instant classic and a game worthy of all the superlatives you'll hear in the coming days. There is a lot that didn't make my story for the dead tree edition simply because there was too much to say and not enough space or time. So, a few more scenes and thoughts: -- Both goaltenders played an absolutely outstanding game. That's why it was so hard to see Unionville's Cory White just lay on the turf while the celebration ensued around him. He stayed down for a good few minutes -- as did a few other Unionville players. They were in a state of shock and rightly so. It looked like, despite the handful of chances for both sides, the game was headed straight for penalty kicks. But, with no disrespect to Unionville, it was refreshing to see the game decided in one of the overtimes rather than in penalty kicks. The game was so well played on both sides that penalty kicks would not have done the game justice. -- The atmosphere was great. Both sides had very large turnouts in the stands and there wasn't a seat to be had at Harriton High. After the game, both teams ran to the stands to thank their fans that showed up. -- Watching Emmanuel Kollie is truly a pleasure. He has one speed: Fast. As the game wore on and the teams tired, it was clear that Father Judge's best strategy was to just try and send Kollie on runs with long outlets. It worked once to tie the game in the second half. Many times, Kollie just missed. On others, Unionville's defense did a good enough job. -- The game was scrappy. Very scrappy. Two yellow cards were shown in the second half and there could have been more. The officials let the players play for the most part and there was a lot of shoving that went uncalled. Really, it was the perfect way to crown the area's best team. It's been an incredible run for Father Judge and they have a chance to play for the state title on Saturday. If the Crusaders win, they will become the first Catholic League team to win a state title in soccer.

More thoughts after Father Judge's classic victory in state semis

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Wow.

That's really the only thing I can still say after Tuesday's PIAA AAA state semifinal between Father Judge and Unionville, a 2-1 double-overtime victory by Judge.

It was an instant classic and a game worthy of all the superlatives you'll hear in the coming days.

There is a lot that didn't make my story for the dead tree edition simply because there was too much to say and not enough space or time.

So, a few more scenes and thoughts:

-- Both goaltenders played an absolutely outstanding game. That's why it was so hard to see Unionville's Cory White just lay on the turf while the celebration ensued around him. He stayed down for a good few minutes -- as did a few other Unionville players. They were in a state of shock and rightly so. It looked like, despite the handful of chances for both sides, the game was headed straight for penalty kicks.

But, with no disrespect to Unionville, it was refreshing to see the game decided in one of the overtimes rather than in penalty kicks. The game was so well played on both sides that penalty kicks would not have done the game justice.

-- The atmosphere was great. Both sides had very large turnouts in the stands and there wasn't a seat to be had at Harriton High. After the game, both teams ran to the stands to thank their fans that showed up.

-- Watching Emmanuel Kollie is truly a pleasure. He has one speed: Fast. As the game wore on and the teams tired, it was clear that Father Judge's best strategy was to just try and send Kollie on runs with long outlets. It worked once to tie the game in the second half. Many times, Kollie just missed. On others, Unionville's defense did a good enough job.

-- The game was scrappy. Very scrappy. Two yellow cards were shown in the second half and there could have been more. The officials let the players play for the most part and there was a lot of shoving that went uncalled.

Really, it was the perfect way to crown the area's best team. It's been an incredible run for Father Judge and they have a chance to play for the state title on Saturday. If the Crusaders win, they will become the first Catholic League team to win a state title in soccer.

NOTE: It was incorrectly stated in the story that appeared in the paper that Judge would be the first team from the PCL to compete for a state title in any sport. It should have said, Judge can become the first PCL team to win a state title in soccer. Of course, La Salle won the boys' lacrosse state title last year. And Archbishop Wood and West Catholic both played for football state titles last year and lost. My bad.

And how about the dominance of District 1 and 12? In four of the five championship games on Saturday in Hershey, a local team will compete for a title. The only class without a local team is girls' AA. The schedule:

A boys': 1-1 Christopher Dock vs. 7-3 Seton LaSalle, 10 a.m.

AA girls': 4-3 Loyalsock vs. 7-1 Springdale, noon

AA boys': 1-1 Octorara vs. 7-2 Hampton, 2 p.m.

AAA girls': 1-3 Downingtown West vs. 10-1 McDowell, 5 p.m.

AAA boys': 12-1 Father Judge vs. 3-1 Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

It's a great chance to prove the best soccer in the state is played in this area.

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