by Tom Utescher
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy back-up goalie Owen Elliott earned a shutout in summer soccer league competition at Penn Charter last Thursday night, but the SCH team lost the game. That’s because league host PC couldn’t come up with a goalie for the evening, and received the freshman keeper on loan from SCH head coach Joe DiSalvo while senior Sam McDowell, a starter since his freshman year, manned the nets for the Blue Devils.
Elliott didn’t relish the idea of playing for Charter, but once the action got underway, his competitive instincts took over and he kept the Quakers’ cage sealed. A pair of first-half goals by PC held up for a 2-0 victory.
A lot of familiar faces were missing for SCH, since last season’s nine senior booters graduated earlier this month. Fortunately for SCH fans, as DiSalvo pointed out, Elliott is part of a large and talented rising freshman class. A few of them will be ready for prime time this fall, according to the coach.
In the early minutes of last week’s summer skirmish, the Blue Devils were pushed up on offense, but they didn’t get off any solid accurate shots. These games consist of 30-minute halves, and about five minutes in Charter began to take the play to the other end of the pitch.
Quakers junior Conrad Williams posed the primary offensive threat, and over a span of roughly seven minutes he had two shots knocked away by McDowell, who also charged out to take the ball off the PC forward’s feet during yet another assault. Williams kept attacking the net until he eventually scored at the 15-minute mark.
Springside Chestnut Hill promptly pushed up the pitch looking for an equalizer. Rent-a-keeper Elliott foiled an attempt led by senior Harrison Kapp, and a little later SCH crossed the ball past the front of the PC goal from left to right, but no forward got a foot on it.
As the clock dropped down near five minutes remaining in the half the Quakers were back on offense, but they saw McDowell react instantly to a point-blank shot and bat the ball aside. Once again, though, persistence paid off for Penn Charter. Christian Lemmo ran right up on the ball on and attempted clearing kick by McDowell, and after the ball bounced back off of the PC junior he chased it down and sent it into the net with a little over four minutes to go in the opening period.
The Blue Devils had shown a good deal of skill and finesse, but often they were simply outhustled by the determined Quakers. That changed a bit in the second half, but the score didn’t. Luke Greenberg almost got SCH on the board early in the second period, but his freshman classmate Elliott deflected the ball up into the middle of the crossbar and PC cleared away the rebound from in front of the cage.
Later on, the ninth-grade netminder made a nice diving save on a shot by Kapp to preserve the 2-0 lead for his temporary team.