by Tom Utescher
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s varsity soccer team repeated as the Inter-Ac League runner-up this fall, but the Blue Devils’ middle school squad went one better, winning the league title for their age group. Undefeated in Inter-Ac competition with a record of 7-0-2, the team went 8-1-3 overall, outscoring opponents by a total of 34 goals to 12. That meant that goalie Owen Elliot gave up an average of just one goal per game as he benefitted from the strong play of the skillful sweeper in front of him, Matt Bown.
SCH began the season 4-0 while getting off to a 3-0 start in the league. In the middle five games, the Blue Devils were 1-1-3, starting the stretch with a 1-1 tie against Penn Charter and a 5-2 win over Malvern Prep. Then, in a match which five regular starters were unable to attend, the locals suffered their lone loss of the season, a 1-0 setback at Shipley School. Ties against Haverford School (2-2) and Friends Central (1-1) followed.
Springside Chestnut Hill would then regroup to finish the season with a 3-0 flourish.
The Blue Devils had knocked off Episcopal Academy at the beginning of the season in a convincing 5-1 performance, but since then the Churchmen had played well and had emerged as the Devils’ chief rivals for the Inter-Ac crown late in the season. In their rematch in late October, EA took a 1-0 lead and held it until only 15 minutes remained in the contest.
Down the stretch, Peter Kapp put the SCH team on his shoulders, scoring a hat trick to give the Devils a 3-1 win. Coach Patrick Hitschler noted that the second goal, the game-winner, was lofted over the goalie’s head by Kapp from 30 yards out.
The Blue Devils then had their second go-round with PC, a team they’d tied in their first meeting. This time, SCH topped the Quakers, 3-0. The season then reached its conclusion with a long ride out to Malvern Prep. Although the Devils had beaten the Friars by three goals back in October, they found themselves in a 1-1 tie with Malvern at halftime in the November 5 rematch between the two teams. The visitors had gotten on the board thanks to a 25-yarder by Luke Greenberg.
Coach Hitschler related that his squad moved ahead in the second half with a marker by Phillip Burckhardt, who beat a pair of Malvern backs to get off his shot. Seventh-grader Scott Bandura then put in what at first was an insurance goal, but then became the actual game-winner after the Friars scored with half-a-minute to go for a 3-2 final.