The end of the soccer season is upon us, so let’s attend to some concluding business. We have updated the stats page with final leaders in preparation for our All-Delco teams, which run in the Tuesday, Dec. 4 paper. With that All-Delco package will be a listing of the final Super 7 … or if you don’t feel like waiting …
1. Strath Haven (20-1-1) Last Week: No. 1
There’s only so much to say about this team that I haven’t already said, but here goes. It’s fair to say that this version of the Panthers, one of the most decorated programs in the area, has a special place in Strath Haven lore. The first District One Class AAA champions in school history, the Panthers’ only loss came without two of their best players, striker Morgan Glassford and defender Jenny Carey, and it came to state runner-up Cumberland Valley. To think that in 22 games, this team only gave up five goals is mind boggling. They possess the county’s best midfield and two of the top scorers in Glassford and Kristen Miller. State title or no, this remains a special team.
2. Episcopal Academy (12-4-4) Last Week: No. 3
Since the beginning of October, the Churchmen lost just once, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Agnes Irwin in the PAISAA tournament in which EA was without two of its best players. The Churchmen managed to earn the No. 1 seed in that tournament and held on for the Inter-Ac title with a gutsy, 2-1 win over Agnes Irwin in overtime on EA-Agnes Irwin Day with a 10-0-2 record. This is a very deep and talented team, with loads of attacking talent up front, much of which will return.
3. Garnet Valley (12-7-0) Last Week: No. 2
Let’s be honest: Talent-wise, the Jaguars weren’t four goals worse than Neshaminy, despite what the scoreline said in their final game of the season. This was an historic season for the Jaguars, who hosted the first playoff game in program history and won a postseason game for the first time since 1999. Garnet Valley graduates a senior class that won 49 games, the most of any in program history, including 10 of 11 prior to the defeat at Neshaminy. Moving forward, perhaps the biggest problem is one that many teams would love to have: They return two outstanding goalkeepers in junior Maris Hayes, who carried a seven-game shutout streak before a concussion ruled her out for the rest of the season, and sophomore Taylor Buckley, who filled in admirably and won three of her five starts, including the playoff game against West Chester East.
4. Radnor (10-7-0) Last Week: No. 4
The Red Raiders feel a bit wronged to not have made districts, but that doesn’t affect their standing as the third-best Delco team in the Central League, albeit one that was somewhat down. They won their last four matches, including a 2-1 OT win over District One Class AA runner-up Gwynedd Mercy Academy. Taylor Quinn proved to be one of the league’s best, and a sizeable contingent of young players returns next season.
5. Agnes Irwin (9-8-1) Last Week: NR
The record may not be terribly impressive, but it’s amazing to see how this team has come together down the stretch. They ran off a five-match winning streak heading into November, culminating with a comprehensive 2-1 win over shorthanded Episcopal Academy, knocking the No. 1 seed out of the PAISAA tournament. Later that week, with EA at full strength and fighting for an Inter-Ac title, the Owls took matters to overtime before bowing out. The Owls have been a new team with freshman sensation Kristin Burnetta, who has 11 goals in nine games since beginning the season with an injury.
6. Cardinal O’Hara (11-6-2) Last Week: No. 7
The Catholic League is a weird one to get a handle on, with large expanses of talent between many of the spots in the standings. That’s how O’Hara can finish seventh, trounce No. 10 Hallahan 5-1 and get beaten by No. 2 Archbishop Wood, 3-1. Even in a league that lacks the parity that we take for granted in District One, I maintain that the Lions would be a middle-of-the-road Central League team – a 5-0 win over Marple Newtown speaks to that – and in a league with plenty of mediocrity, O’Hara gets the edge over the Central contingent.
7. Penncrest (8-9-0) Last Week: No. 5
The final spot comes down to four teams in a logjam in the Central League. There’s Marple Newtown, which won the first playoff game in program history in Class AA. There’s Springfield, which technically finished atop the heap in the middle of the league thanks to a season-closing win over Haverford. And there’s Haverford, which went 0-3 against the other teams in this consideration. Hence, edge to the Lions.
Also in the conversation: Marple Newtown, Springfield, Haverford, Delco Christian.