Every high school team, regardless of the sport, dreams of making the state playoffs. Between dreaming and actuality lies a whole season of blending, learning, and pure dedication. The Council Rock South girls’ soccer team experienced just such a 2019 campaign. This talented group of athletes earned their final pass to states by beating their archrival and nemesis Pennsbury.
Junior captain Aubrey Hondros acknowledged that the Golden Hawks experienced a learning curve on their way to becoming the only area soccer team heading to states. “We started off playing a little slow in the beginning of the season. But as the season went on we started playing like a team and playing together. Now we feel like a family. That helps so much on the field.”
The ’slow” start really included only two losses, one to Pennridge and the other, a heartbreaking loss to the eventual league champion, Pennsbury. Aubrey saw the loss to the Falcons as a pivotal time in the early season. “When we played Pennsbury for the first time it was really hard for us. We lost pretty much in the last five minutes. We gave up a few goals and we ended up losing. That game made us realize every second counts in every game. After that game we played to win.”
The lesson learned by all the Golden Hawks followed an old Yogi Berra truism. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” The Falcons had broken an early tie with a goal in the opening minute of the second half. The Golden Hawks rallied back with three straight goals by Sammy Jones. With only five minutes left in the game, however, Pennsbury hit three straight tallies to capture a 4-3 victory.
The Falcon’s took the rematch with South1-0 late in regular season, a win that only fueled the Golden Hawks competitive fire. When the two met in a district playback showdown, a shot at states was on the line. One team would move on, the other would pack it in for the season.
Aubrey recognized the game’s importance. “One of our goals was to get to states. We were also mad about our two losses to Pennsbury where we felt we could have won. I think we had something extra in us to win this game. We wanted to go to states and to knock them (Pennsbury) off and show we’re the better team.”
The two teams battled through a very physical, well-played first half that failed to produce a score. At halftime, Aubrey and her Hawk teammates felt victory would go to the team with the greatest desire. “We thought we were playing really well. We just got off to a slow start where they had a few opportunities. We just said that would not happen again. It was up to the team that wanted it more.”
South broke the scoreless duel when they found the back of the Falcon’s net with 19 minutes left to play. Aubrey executed her responsibilities perfectly carrying the ball up the left sideline. “My responsibility is to get up and get wide and cross the ball and switch the field.”
Aubrey found the mercurial Sammy Jones with a perfect pass. “I played Sammy the ball right through two defenders. She had a perfect touch on it and went around the goalie and finished with a really good shot. That was an important goal at that point in the game.”
A contested goal by Pennsbury, however, knotted the score at 1-1 and sent the game into overtime. “We felt they didn’t deserve their goal but we said we need to do everything we can. Going into overtime we knew we just had to finish one time and the game would be over.”
That moment came minutes into the overtime. Aubrey drew a foul in front of the Falcon’s goal. “I drew a foul outside the box. Sammy Jones kicked a great kick into the box that Pennsbury deflected but Sammy got it back and found Maddie McDowell for a great goal.”
The Golden Goal left all of the South’s players euphoric. In Aubrey’s words, “It was a rush of excitement and I felt so proud of the whole team. I really felt they deserved it.”
South had one more district playback game after Pennsbury before heading down the Keystone Yellow Brick Road. They faced Unionville for a third-place spot and better seeding at states. Aubrey knew South would be ready. “We treat every game the same. We always want to win. We’ll play the ways we always do. Every game is important even if it’s just learning from it.”
The Golden Hawks did reign supreme taking a 3-1 victory over Unionville and keeping the momentum they had built up in the Pennsbury tussle. Aubrey summed up the team’s mood, saying, “I’m really excited for states and for what our team can do. We could go far down the road. We have a great group of girls.”
This talented and determined group had reached their dream…they were heading to states!