Faith Christian out-possessed and out-shot Delco Christian in Tuesday night’s PIAA Class A final four match at Norristown. And Colin Moyer gave the Lions a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
But the Knights tied it with 79 seconds left, kept the overtimes scoreless, and advanced to Saturday’s state title game on penalty kicks (4-2).
“I think the key is for us to stay patient and score first. It is tough to beat a team three times in one year,” Faith head coach Ryan Clymer stated Monday. “We know that. We’re playing on a small field, which is to their advantage. We expect they will pack it in and we’ll see if we can not get frustrated and find a way to create more opportunities. It will be a tough match since it is state semifinals and they want it as much as we do.”
Faith (22-1) dominated Delco 6-0 on Sept. 13 and erased a 1-0 deficit to overcome the Knights 3-2 in the district title game. Although the Lions lost to an archrival in the state semifinals, they got revenge on another rival in the state quarterfinals.
In many ways, Faith and Moravian Academy had soccer programs on equal footing. Just 23 miles separate the two schools. Faith has won the last four Class A District One titles. Moravian has taken home the last 10 District 11 Class A titles.
The schools have met in the last four PIAA playoffs with Faith winning in 2020 – the year the Lions won the state championship – and 2021; but Moravian was the upset overtime winner in 2022.
When the two schools met in the PIAA elite eight on Saturday at Emmaus, they most definitely were not on equal footing.
Faith pulverized its rival 6-0. Ben Goodrich headed in a goal just 100 seconds into the game. Scores from Guilherme Machado and Ryan Noel made it 3-0 before the 13th minute ended.
Faith’s attack was better than Moravian’s defense. “The more pressure we put on their defense, the less likely they would be able to counter,” assessed Clymer. “We pressed high and our shots were on target. The boys were focused. It was a big field, which plays to our advantage.”
More Faith first half shots went in (five) then not (four). The Lions added first half goals from Oriol Pedrola and Ryley Gardner to take a 5-0 lead into halftime; Machado earned his brace midway through the second half to end the scoring.
“We have a ton of seniors,” Clymer pointed out. “They are potentially playing their last match every time they put on a uniform. They like each other and the chemistry is good. They don’t want the season to end just yet. We talk every week since playoff started: you lose and you’re out, so let’s play and practice one more time.”
Faith won its first-round game: a 13-0 rout of District 12 Tacony Charter. A mismatch in round one was to be expected. The Lions’ steamrolling of Moravian was a bit more surprising.
This fall, the Lions were victorious over five 4A teams including Lower Merion and Upper Dublin, the eighth and ninth seeds in district playoffs.