Patriots advance by topping Council Rock
Freedom’s girls’ soccer team took no time in making an early statement against Council Rock South in the Patriots’ 3-1 victory over the Golden Hawks in the first round of the PIAA State soccer tournament on Tuesday at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
Patriot forward Abby Sipel scored what turned out to be an emotional goal in the first minute on an assist by KK James.
“During the season I didn’t get to play much field because I was in goal, so when I got the ball from KK James I kind of went into my own zone and afterward I broke out into tears because it made me so happy that I could finally score,” Sipel said. “Honestly, through this whole season, we’ve had the same mindset, go have fun, and like any game, you have your mind set to win. Where we are now is perfect.”
Council Rock tied things up at 22:22 on a goal by Alexandra Jones from an assist by Samantha Jones, but that’s all the Golden Hawks would be able to get past Freedom goalie Megan Raffino.
“I’ve had a lot of goalie trainers growing up and that was the big thing, you have to be aggressive because you don’t see that a lot in girls’ soccer. And having an older brother who is an amazing goal keeper, he helped me through that, so I was always taught to be aggressive,” said Raffino. “Putting myself out there and getting that ball is what I have to do.”
That’s not to say there weren’t some nerve-wracking moments on Council Rock corners, but Raffino handled those too.
“That’s a lot of anxiety on those, especially when they bounce around a lot, but I have to stay composed,” she said.
Freedom’s offense game through in the second half when Patriot forward Haley Gschrey scored on a hard shot free kick at 29:25 and then, again, at 23:48. The latter goal saw Gschrey get by three defenders and around Council Rock goalie Carli Dickel.
“I dribbled as fast as I could past the defense and I saw the keeper coming out. I took a touch around her because I saw her coming out and I knew she was going to slide,” Gschrey said.
The Patriot victory put Freedom into the state quarterfinals on Saturday.
“We really wanted to make a statement for our team,” Gschrey said.