Bucks County Herald

Boys soccer:

CB West caps fantastic season
with district championship

STEVE SHERMAN



CB West’s Jack Galt leaps for a header.

Central Bucks West capped off a perfect run through the District One Class 4A tournament, taking the playoff crown that eluded them last year when they were toppled by Council Rock North in the D1 semifinals.

This time around, the sixth-seeded Bucks reached the district final by getting past Suburban One Continental Conference rivals Pennridge and North Penn before blanking No. 2 Spring-Ford in the semis on a lone goal by senior Jimi Leder.

Saturday night, Nov. 3, in the title tilt against fourth-seeded Abington (20-2) at Upper Merion Middle School, Leder had a hand in both goals in a 2-1 triumph over the Ghosts.

“He’s starting to turn it up a notch, which is great,” said CB West head coach Stefan Szygiel. “He’s kind of living in that ‘it’s playoff mode, it’s time to kick it up another gear,’ and he’s doing it.

“I think a couple other kids are starting to tap into another level and this is when we need it most.”

Defensively, the back line, anchored by seniors Nick Centenera, Mike Redfield and Luke Fehrman, along with junior Bailey Moyer and sophomore James Lutz, appears to be the backbone of CB West. The Bucks limited four opponents in districts to just three goals.

In a game held scoreless through the first 50 minutes, Leder finally broke through, putting CB West (19-2) on top, 1-0, with a blast to the upper right hand corner off a feed from midfielder Colin Burn.

In the 63rd minute, Abington senior Sean Touey then tied it for the Ghosts with a goal of his own, tapping home a cross from sophomore Bryce Lexow.

The Bucks wasted little time retaking the lead, however. Two minutes later, Leder sent in a corner kick from the left side that junior forward Alan Zlotin redirected into the net for the game-winner.

“When they tied it up, the message was ‘let’s see if we can go punch for punch with them and pull another one back,’” added Szygiel. “And we did.

“This was going to be a one-goal game, no matter what and we just came out on the right side of it tonight.”

All of West’s playoff wins have been by a loan goal. Experience, especially that gained from last year’s state playoff run that ended in a shutout loss to 2017 PIAA champ Conestoga, is paying off now.

“There’s not a lot of teams left that have the experience that we do,” stated senior goalkeeper Dylan Smith. “And we use that experience to our advantage, especially in these tighter games.”

The Bucks’ stifling defense has surrendered just a dozen goals in 21 contests this season.

When a ball does manage to find its way through the back line, Smith is usually in place to make the save. In the semifinal win over Spring-Ford, he contributed eight stops to the win over the Rams.

Hanging on to the slimmest of margins against Abington in the final, the Ghosts threw everything they had at the Bucks’ net.

Smith stood tall, denying a re-direct by Abington junior Reese Gibbs, getting just enough of the ball to see it carom off the left side of the crossbar and out of harm’s way with 16 ticks left on the clock.

“I’m just glad it didn’t go in,” admitted Smith.

“They definitely came at us and they had the weapons to do what they did.

“Our back line was just incredible for us tonight; they didn’t allow their weapons to do what they’re best at.”

Win or lose, both teams were headed to states. But CB West was determined to go as the district champion after grabbing a fourth-place ribbon a year ago.

“This just feels amazing,” said Smith. “It’s something that our team hasn’t done before.
“We’re going to states and that was always the goal.

“This is just a stop along the way.”

With the win, the Bucks advanced to the opening round of states Nov. 6 at CB South, where they were elminated by District Three third-place finisher Central Dauphin in overtime, 2-1.




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