Thursday, September 20, 2012

Great Valley stays unbeaten with 3-0 win over Oxford


EAST NOTTINGHAM - One of the biggest high school boys soccer stories in the county so far this fall has certainly been the play of Great Valley.
In their season opener, the Patriots handed reigning state champion Conestoga their first loss since 2010, and they haven’t looked back since.
On Thursday afternoon, Great Valley remained perfect on the season as they scored an impressive 3-0 road victory over a much-improved Oxford squad in a Ches-Mont League American Division match that was a lot tighter than the final score indicated.
Great Valley (4-0 American, 6-0 overall) got second-half goals from three different players -- Jake Miller, Sawyer Rice and Jack Halliday -- as they kept pace with fellow unbeaten West Chester Rustin (4-0) for first place atop the division standings.
The contest was scoreless at halftime thanks to some incredible play in net by Oxford senior goalie Antonio Morales, who made 10 of his 13 saves in the opening 40 minutes to help keep his team in the game despite some serious offensive pressure put on by the Patriots.
“That’s sort of how we’ve been playing. We have been creating a lot of chances and we know that eventually if we keep doing that we are going to convert,” said Great Valley coach Dave Moffett. “Credit to Oxford in the first half, they really played us tough, and their keeper was fantastic.”
Great Valley is seeking its first league title since 2005, when they captured the Southern Chester County League crown. The Patriots are without question one of the favorites at this point in the Ches-Mont League. They have a showdown looming with West Chester Rustin next Thursday night for the American Division lead.
“If we want to win the league we have to get three points every time we step on the field,” said Moffett. “That’s our approach, and I’m extremely happy with the way we’ve started this season.”
After getting plenty of chances early on, Great Valley was finally able to get one past Morales with 28:42 remaining to take a 1-0 lead. Senior forward Robbie Campbell sent in a terrific cross from the left side that Miller was able to get his head on inside the box for a great goal.
Oxford nearly tied the match not long after with 17 minutes to play, when Jordan Logan hit the crossbar with a laser shot from inside the box, following a rebound off a corner kick from teammate Andrew McGinley.
Just moments later, however, Great Valley seized a commanding 2-0 advantage with 15:54 to go on a goal by junior midfielder Sawyer Rice. Campbell helped set-up the goal for his second assist of the game as he carried the ball into the box and collided with Morales. The ball caromed out to Rice who buried it into what was basically an empty net at that point.
The Patriots tacked on one more goal with 3:56 left when Halliday scored off a rebound.
“We knew this was going to be a battle today,” said Campbell, one of the Patriots’ co-captain’s. “It was frustrating early in the match not being able to finish in that first half, but we knew we would get one eventually.
“We have a number of seniors on this team that have been around for years, and winning the league is definitely our No. 1 goal this season. We realized after beat Conestoga that we are capable of playing with anybody.”
Oxford (2-1-1, 4-1-1) suffered its first loss of the season. The Hornets, who haven’t had more than five wins in any season since the mid 1990s, are playing outstanding soccer so far this fall and appear well on their way to their best season in over 15 years.
“We understand for our program we are climbing a hill,” said Oxford coach Justin Wyatt. “Our goal is to get into the top-half of the league and make the district playoffs. We are playing incredibly well so far. I’m very pleased with our passion and effort out there.
“We came out fighting today against Great Valley. I have a lot of respect for them. They are an excellent team and they really move the ball well. We hung with them for a while, and we can build off playing an excellent first half against them.”
The undefeated Patriots, meanwhile, continue to steam roll right along.
“We are a very experienced team that brought a lot back from last year,” said Moffett. “We lost in the opening round of districts last year, and these guys weren’t happy with the way their season ended. They have brought that drive and motivation into every game this season.”

Great Valley 3, Oxford 0
Great Valley     0 3 -- 3
Oxford     0 0 -- 0
Great Valley goals: Miller, Rice, Halliday.
Goalie saves: Palos (GV) 7; Morales (OX) 13.

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