The time has come to wind things down this soccer season. For your viewing pleasure, we have updated the stats page with final leaders in the lead up to the reveal of our All-Delco teams in the Friday, Nov. 30 paper. Also with that All-Delco package will be a listing of the final Super 7, which gets the usual blog treatment here…
1. Haverford School (18-2-1) Last week: No. 1
The Fords have a rare distinction among this group: They’re the only squad not to finish the season with a loss. In fact, make it 10 straight wins for Haverford School, the last loss coming in a Brett Campbell-less outing against Conestoga Nov. 6. They’ve collected the Inter-Ac title, punctuated by a 5-0 thrashing of archrival Episcopal Academy, and their second straight Pennsylvania Independent Schools championship, complete with a 6-0 waxing of Phelps Schools in the semis. With the way so many top seeds in the District One tournament had their seasons unexpectedly cut short (and the subsequent fizzling in the PIAA Tournament, with a combined record of 1-5), Haverford School has a legitimate claim to the throne of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
2. Upper Darby (13-6-0) Last week: No. 2
Heartbreaking losses abounded for the Delco teams in the first round of the District One playoffs, with four of five teams bowing out by one-goal margins, three in overtime. Perhaps the closest was Upper Darby, which dominated the first half-hour of its match with Pennsbury, which qualified for states. The Royals boasted the best record of the Delco Central League contingent and was man-for-man the most talented. Like most teams in the area, they’re a senior-laden bunch to undergo wholesale changes next season, but the return of Marc Howard in defense and Ryan Johnson in goal provide a solid foundation.
3. Radnor (10-5-3) Last week: No. 3
The loss of Chris Martin down the stretch took the wind out of the Red Raiders’ sails, leading to a two-game skid to end the season. Still, Radnor was in the thick of its playoff game with PIAA qualifier Souderton, leading at halftime thanks to a Peter Donato goal before falling in overtime. The Red Raiders rank as one of the county’s strongest, though, thanks in large part to a strong spine that included Martin, Donato, midfielder Tyler Helms and goalkeeper Wesley Dickson.
4. Springfield (8-5-1) Last week: No. 4
The Cougars felt the same opening-round heartbreak, dropping a 1-0 decision to Wissahickon. The run into the end of the season was littered with missed chances for the Cougars, including a 2-1 loss to Lower Merion after centerback Kyle Chevalier went out with a head injury that negatively affected their seeding for districts. Springfield, thanks in large part to goalkeeper Dave Sousa, was one of the stingiest in the area, surrendering just 15 goals, five of which came an early season loss to Harriton.
5. Strath Haven (10-8-1) Last week: No. 5
The Panthers looked dead in the water in the first week of October, making their ability to rally for a playoff spot remarkable. That included winning four of the last five regular-season games, including triumphs over Holy Ghost Prep and Christopher Dock; the lone loss in that stretch was in OT to Harriton. Never short on drama, the Panthers went to overtime in each of their last three matches, the final blow coming in double-OT at the hands of North Penn, a 2-1 loss after Christian Belanger’s opening goal.
6. Penn Wood (10-4-0) Last week: No. 7
Things get dicey in the rankings after the four Central League teams. The Patriots’ record looks impressive, but a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Downingtown West in the playoffs gives a clearer perspective of the exchange rate of wins in the Del Val to other leagues. Their nonleague results include losses to Ridley, Penncrest and Oxford and wins over such powers as Friends Central, Boys Latin and Community Academy, but the paucity of other options means they retain their spot.
7. Episcopal Academy (5-10-5) Last week: No. 6
Another place that’s tough to fill. Eight straight losses to end the season rule out Haverford. Four losses in five hurt Penncrest’s candidacy. And Sun Valley was winless in its last five. I guess that leaves the injury-hit Churchmen, despite their last win coming Oct. 5.
Also in the conversation: Penncrest, Sun Valley, Haverford.