With its 2-0 win over Nazareth Academy on Oct. 28, thanks to Regan Kelso’s brace, Archbishop Wood captured the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) girls soccer title for the third straight season.
And with its 1-0 win over Strath Haven on Election Night – Ava DeGeorge scored an early goal that held – Wood (12-7-1) advanced to the PIAA elite eight for the third straight year.
“Brigid Johnston, our right back, played a ball to Kylie Wiest, our center mid who had about two or three girls in front of her,” DeGeorge described. “She dropped it back to me, I took the touch and got it over the goalie’s head. The rest of the game was defense. We tried to hold out on the 1-0 win and we did.”
“We talk at the beginning of the year about what we want to do. We talk about wanting a PCL championship and a state championship,” head coach Tom DeGeorge noted. “We set the bar high.
“What the kids did before put us in the spot to be where we are at this year. That might sound weird,” admitted Tom DeGeorge, “since it is different kids every year, but the culture, the way kids respect Wood soccer and what it meant to kids who came before them is contagious and runs through the program.”
Wood opened with just three wins in its first nine matches, reflecting an intentionally difficult opening schedule.
“You learn a lot about these kids real fast when they are playing big time programs,” Tom DeGeorge observed last Thursday. “Everyone looks around and says ‘Wow, we just lost four games in a row’ and they are taking their lumps but you can see where you want to be at the end of the season. Right now, we’re clicking and the girls are confident.
“Everyone really gets along and I think that is a big part of it,” Ava DeGeorge noted. “I felt like it took a little while for everyone to jell since we’re relatively young. A lot of new girls came in and getting familiar with the program took a while. But now everyone is really close.”
On Sept. 21, the Vikings beat Archbishop Carroll 3-0, to begin a run of nine wins in 10 matches. Wood fell in overtime to Archbishop Ryan on Sept. 28 but then started a seven-game win streak with a 7-1 Senior Day win over Conwell-Egan.
“We work a lot at practice on keeping possession and it’s all coming together,” Ava DeGeorge shared. “We all have the same goal in mind and that is leading to us scoring goals and winning games.”
Wood’s final two regular season matches, two PCL playoff games and first-round states game were all shutouts.
“Before the season started, the big question everyone asked me was: What were you going to do with our backs? We graduated three starting backs who were very good,” Tom DeGeorge said. “We have a freshman and a sophomore playing center back. We have a sophomore playing right back and a senior, who we made a back. They have been phenomenal this year. And our goalie (Lauren Greer) is so steady. She has some of the best hands I’ve seen.”
The Vikings’ season ended on Saturday in Emmaus, in a 2-1 loss to undefeated Abington Heights of District Two in state quarterfinals. DeGeorge scored a goal in the 67th minute.
There is more great soccer in the pipeline. While All-State nominee DeGeorge will suit up for Rider next year, five Wood underclassmen – Kelso, Wiest, Paige Eckert, Macie Kennedy and Molly McConnell – made the first or second All-PCL teams.