There’s a little more jockeying this week, and while the top four stay pretty entrenched, there’s a bit of jostling down below in the rankings. (Records based on games reported to the Daily Times through Oct. 8.)
1. Strath Haven (10-2-2) Last Week: No. 1
The Panthers deserve the benefit of the doubt here: They play their “A” game in routing Methacton last week, then run out of steam in a 2-1 loss to Unionville. They are badly beat up with six sophomores starting, and the uncertainty over the injury to Grace Dickey casts an unwelcome pall over that backline. If they can get Dickey, Annika Kruse and maybe Ami Iannello back for the postseason, this is a very different looking team.
2. Agnes Irwin (6-1) Last Week: No. 2
Any time the Owls can grind out a win without either Kristin Burnetta or Hannah Keating recording a point and with a backup goalie in Hailey Andress stepping up, as they did in a 3-2 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Tuesday, it reflects well on the depth Agnes Irwin possesses.
3. Garnet Valley (10-4-2) Last Week: No. 3
GV’s roll has hit a bump with back-to-back draws with Owen J. Roberts and West Chester East and a 1-0 loss to Conestoga that likely seals the league title for the Pioneers. Should the Jaguars finish the season on a good note, that should be enough to host a playoff game in the first round of the District One Tournament.
4. Penncrest (11-4) Last Week: No. 4
It took until Game 15 of the season for the Lions to lose when Olivia Mancarella scored (her 17th of the season) in a 3-2 loss to Radnor. All four of Penncrest’s losses are by one goal, two of them in overtime. That 2-4 record in one-goal games is a major hurdle to surmount in nip-and-tuck playoff situations.
5. Episcopal Academy (4-4-1) Last Week: No. 6
In what might be a harbinger of their league title aspirations, drubbing Springside Chestnut Hill, 4-0, last week might indicate the distance between the Churchwomen and Agnes Irwin. The two-headed offensive monster of Tara Boyle and Jessica Shanahan has been producing steadily. I have a feeling EA-Agnes Irwin Day could have Inter-Ac title implications on the line.
6. Radnor (7-4-1) Last Week: No. 7
That win over Penncrest Tuesday is a big-time bonus-point accumulator. Only wish I knew who scored. Sadly, there was no report of that. Radnor also has a 3-2 win over Bishop Shanahan, which beat Haverford in overtime, to its name in the last week.
7. Haverford (9-6) Last Week: No. 5
The Fords are quick, but when it comes time to match up with heady defensive teams like Strath Haven’s offside trap, the only thing they accumulate are offsides. This team seems to be missing an out-and-out goalscorer (like Mancarella or Haven’s Lizzie King). Olivia Butera has done a great job with a dozen goals, but no one else has more than four, and Butera is probably better suited to be the attacking midfield playmaker than the finisher. “I think definitely being the first to 50-50 balls is a big thing,” Butera opined as to what was missing against Haven Tuesday. “And playing quicker, as well. I think we have the skills and the speed, I think we just need to pick up the pace of the passing.”
Honorable mention: Marple Newtown (8-5-1, four straight wins, the highlight being a 4-3 dismissal of Delco Christian, have steadied the ship after three straight losses. Holly Nicolardi is back in the scoring column, having tallied twice in as many games.); Delco Christian (8-4-2, a loss to Christopher Dock and a draw with New Hope-Solebury have effectively curtailed their Bicentennial title hopes and indicate that work remains for the Knights to fulfill their District One Class A aspirations).