CB East's season ends in semifinals
Central Bucks East had few peers this season.
On Tuesday evening in frigid Warminster, the Patriots ran into an opponent with a resume even more impressive than theirs: Neshaminy.
“I mean, they deserved to win,” CB East’s Annie Axenroth said at the game’s conclusion as her teammates made their way across the William Tennent turf. “[Neshaminy] has had an undefeated season, but I give so much credit to our team.
(Goalkeeper) Paige Marcinkowski kept us in every game. Holly (Moyer) played so well. I just think our team this year had a special unity and it helped us get far.”
The Patriots fell one victory short of the state final, losing to Neshaminy, 3-0, in Tuesday’s semifinals. Sophomore Gabby Farrell deposited two goals.
The Redskins will face District One fifth-place finisher Spring-Ford – a 1-0 winner in double overtime over District Seven champion Seneca Valley in the other semifinal – on Saturday afternoon in Hershey for the state title.
“I really thought we generated a lot of offense in the beginning,” said Moyer, who shares captain duties with senior classmates Shaun Kane, Mariah Lichter, Axenroth and Marcinkowski. “We were high pressuring, but [Neshaminy] is a very good team, as they showed. They can finish really well, and I think we did everything we could, so I’m really proud of us.”
The Patriots came within inches of scoring the contest’s first goal in the 6th minute as senior Abby Emmert shot the ball out of Redskins ’keeper McKenna Mullin’s reach, but it collided with the crossbar and fell innocently back to the turf.
With the wind at their backs, the Patriots made a few charges in the first half, but their efforts were turned away by a Redskins defense that excelled all season and has yet to allow a goal in three games in states, outscoring opponents 8-0.
Farrell put Neshaminy on the board in the 36th minute and did so again in the 74th minute. Senior forward Megan Schafer beat Marcinkowski in the 56th minute to provide a bit of breathing room for the Redskins, the District One champions who improved to 24-0 and are the favorites to return from Hershey with the trophy.
“It hasn’t sunk in for them yet how unbelievably good they have been the entire season,” CB East head coach Paul Eisold said of his squad, especially his seniors. “Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose your last game, but unless you’re going to states and you win it all, you’re going to lose your last game. So I think when it sinks in, they’re going to realize what an unbelievable season it was, how much they mean to the girls, how much they mean to the coaching staff.
“They lit the fire and the candle burned, and tonight, it burned out.”
The Patriots conclude their season with a record of 19-4-3. The fourth-place team from District One, CB East sent home Boyertown, 1-1 (3-2 penalty kicks), on Saturday in the state quarterfinals. Boyertown defeated the Patriots in the third-place match in districts. CB East lost its final two games in districts, but rebounded to win a pair in states. Eisold credited his captains.
“As upset as they are,” he said, “that’s because they played with passion, they played with pizzazz, they’re very resilient, they didn’t quit and I’m going to miss players like that.”
Axenroth praised her classmates for helping keep the Patriots on course.
“The seniors have really willed this team since freshman year,” she said. “And I’m really proud of all we’ve done.”
CB East has a number of talented underclassmen in the pipeline, including sophomore Emma Loving, who established herself as a proven goal-scorer in 2013, but the Class of 2014 will be hard to replace, Moyer said.
“The starters are mostly all seniors,” she said. “We’ve been playing together since freshman year. It’s a really great bond and obviously we’ve shown it because we’ve grown so much as a team. We’ve gone so far this year. I think we have a really, really strong bond and it’s going to be missed next year.”
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