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Radnor tops NWL in double overtime

All things considered, the trip to Exeter Township High School was not a very good one for the Lady Tigers. On a cold, damp afternoon, the Northwestern girls soccer team had to sit through an extended halftime when a power outage delayed the second half of the state quarterfinal game for an hour and 10 minutes. After another 25 minutes to get the teams back on the field and ready to play, it was the opponent that came out the aggressor and erased a 1-0 Northwestern Lehigh edge and turned it into a 2-1 loss.

The game began better than it ended when the Lady Tigers got the scoring started when they were awarded a direct kick with about 28 minutes left in the half. The kick was coming from 45 yards away from the mouth of the goal, which would normally result in a normal play-in kick, but the difference in this kick was Sophia Motolese being the one taking it.

The kick was perfectly centered on goal and goalkeeper Mallory Toomey came out expecting it to fall short, but then had to backtrack as the ball wound up arcing just under the crossbar. Being off balance, Toomey was unable to get much of a vertical leap and the ball went off her fingertips and into the net.

That was the only scoring of the first half and the game entered what would be an extended halftime when the power outage hit and the entire neighborhood went dark.

When play resumed, Radnor came out being the aggressor and went into persistent attack mode. The defense turned away the attacks and goalkeeper Naomi Glassberg made athletic saves, including tipping a shot by Jane Daiutolo over the crossbar.

“Our defense did their usual great job for us tonight,” said Northwestern head coach Jordan Smith, who has now completed his first season at the helm of the team. “Naomi made some really big saves for us and that was huge because they were very aggressive and gave our defense everything we could handle.”

As time started to run low, Radnor again brought an attack through the box and Northwestern Lehigh was called for a penalty. Emily Daiutolo took the penalty kick and put it past Glassberg to tie the game 1-1.

As if the earlier delay was not long enough, the quarterfinal game went into overtime with the score tied. The two teams played through one overtime period with no scoring, although Northwestern Lehigh had some opportunities.

In the second overtime, Radnor came out looking for a quick score. Jane Daiutolo fired a perfect cross to Ivy Chaskelson, who was at the corner post and beat Glassberg with a shot into the back of the net to end the Lady Tigers season.

“We played hard, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow,” said Smith. “We had that hour and a half break in the middle of the game and it was tough to bounce back from that as well.”

The Lady Tigers have a huge graduating class with 14 seniors on their roster who will be moving on. The good news is that many of the underclassmen received quality minutes on the field throughout the season to give Northwestern Lehigh reason to believe in reloading and not rebuilding.

“It’s not only about their play on the field, it’s the way they carry themselves and the way they handle the younger kids on the team,” said Smith of his senior players. “The future is still bright and we’ll continue to work with them, but for now, I have 14 seniors who are hurting and I’m hurting for them.”

PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Northwestern's Samantha Bardonner (27) defends as a Radnor player tries to move the ball up the field.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Olivia Motolese makes a move around a Radnor defender during the state quarterfinals.