Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s boys’ soccer team captains for 2015 are seniors Blake Greenhalgh (left) and Sam McDowell. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s boys’ soccer team captains for 2015 are seniors Blake Greenhalgh (left) and Sam McDowell. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

In each of the last two Inter-Ac League soccer campaigns, the lads of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy have finished as runner-up to champion Haverford School. This fall, taking that one last step to a title still won’t be easy, since the Fords have once again turned out a strong, nationally-prominent team that has produced some impressive early results.

The SCH Blue Devils actually split in their home/away series with Haverford during the 2014 regular season, but a few slip-ups elsewhere landed the locals in second place with a record of 6-3-1. They reached the quarterfinal round of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament, finishing up with a loss to the 2014 champion, Hill School. Haverford was stopped in the semifinals by the eventual runner-up, Mercersburg Academy.

Springside Chestnut Hill graduated nine members of their 2014 roster, including reliable defender Peter Davis and potent scorers Christian Williams and José Contreras. SCH could’ve used that offensive punch last Friday in a home field bout against traditional non-league rival Germantown Friends.

The Blue Devils were not without scoring chances, but they couldn’t put anything past 6’5” GFS keeper Pietro Berghella, and even after 10 minutes of overtime, the outcome was 0-0. The Devils had beaten the Tigers, 3-1, in the first round of last year’s Pa. Indy Schools tournament.

Sam McDowell is a four-year starter in goal for SCH, and he is a team co-captain this season along with fellow senior Blake Greenhalgh. The other 12th-grade starters last Friday were Billy Harris, Harrison Kapp, and Tim Booth, while seniors Henry Kelly and Aidan Fitzpatrick played reserve roles.

Jack Lamb and Andy Stackhouse were the two junior starters, and their classmates on the varsity squad are Malcolm Glendinning and back-up goalies David Brenman and Joe Conlin. There are relatively few sophomores on the team; just Tague Harmaty (a starter), Michael Buck, and Luke Vogelman.

It looks as though Blue Devil soccer supporters can look to the future with confidence, since six freshmen appeared on the initial varsity roster last week. Luke Greenberg and Phil Burckhardt, who came up through the SCH middle school, were starters last week, as was a new student at the school, Jack Meyers. The other three ninth-graders listed are Peter Kapp, Matthew Bown, and Patrick McHugh. Kapp is the brother of senior Harrison Kapp, and Bown’s older brother, Mike, was a senior on the 2014 SCH team.

Joe DiSalvo is back for his seventh season as head coach, along with a familiar staff made up of associate head coach Brian Zalasky and assistants Taylor Ferry and Tom Stackhouse.