By: Cole Nowak
Fort Washington, PA – Coming into the Tuesday’s contest, both Shipley and Germantown Academy were eager to have the opportunity the lift the Commonwealth Cup. Shipley defeated Friends Central 5-2, while Germantown Academy beat the Hill School 4-0 in the semifinals to set the stage for the championship match.
On this day, Shipley had just enough to squeak past Germantown Academy to be champions and ultimately hoist the Commonwealth Cup.
But it did not come easy…
After a full 80 minutes of scoreless soccer and to two scoreless overtime periods, the game was deadlocked at 0-0. It would take the sixth round of penalty kicks to crown a champion.
“Oh my gosh, what an exciting victory. To come away to Germantown Academy, at their home field with their home fans. One of our star athletes got hurt last week, so we all stepped up to fill her role and just battled for the full 80 minutes, plus 10 more, plus penalties. I could not be proud of this entire team,” said Shipley head coach Nikki Wiseman.
Germantown Academy had the upper hand in regard to possession and scoring opportunities throughout the game. In the closing minutes of the first half, GA freshman Jessica Kolecki struck a stinger that hit the crossbar, which would keep the game scoreless.
In the second half, GA continued to apply pressure. Shipley freshman goalkeeper Rylee Louden would not flinch for a second. She was stellar from start to finish, denying every opportunity that came her way. Her save of the day came in the second half, as GA junior Taylor Weiss played a gorgeous ball through the middle that would find senior Alex Goodridge streaking down the side with just Loudon to beat. Loudon said ‘not today’ and executed a perfectly timed slide tackle stopping Goodridge in her tracks.
“Our goalkeeper is fearless, she showed that today in both the game and in penalties,” said Wiseman.
“They (the Gators defenders) are so important to our team; we have a senior captain in the center back there and a bunch of young players around her. They have really come together this season. They push up together and they are aggressive,” added Wiseman when touching on the cohesiveness of Shipley’s defensive unit.
2021 PAISAA Commonwealth Cup Champions - Shipley School - PSD Photo by Cole Nowak
Shipley freshman goalkeeper Rylee Louden was named PSD's Player of the Game for her outstanding composure in net - PSD Photo by Cole Nowak
Shipley came out with a spark in the first minutes of OT, creating A1 scoring opportunities that were turned away from GA’s backline. The rest of the overtime, as well as the second overtime was evenly matched. This would bring us to penalty kicks for all the marbles.
“I am proud of our team; we have had a lot of lows in our season. This in terms of how successful we have been, getting to this point in the Commonwealth Cup and being able to make it the final game, is a big step for us. I think we deserved to get the win; we possessed the ball for a majority of the game. But I am really proud with how we played,” said GA senior captain Cailin Hasson.
During the first five penalty rounds, all 10 shooters found the back of the net. Round 1 GA’s Alex Goodridge vs. Shipley’s Razia Mian. Round 2, GA’s Jessica Kolecki vs. Shipley’s Olivia Coia, Round 3 GA’s Cailin Hasson vs. Shipley’s Jaiden Griffin. The fourth round is when things started to get interesting. Despite having her arm in a sling due to an injury, GA senior captain Lilly Funk did not let that slow her back and found the back of the net for the Patriots. Shipley’s Emma Baker would match that. In round 5, GA’s goalkeeper Caitlin Boland-Szura would act as a shooter and score, while Shipley’s Anna Pascale would repay the favor and sneak one past Boland-Scurza to keep the game alive.
GA’s Heidi Cross would attempt to place one in the top right hand corner, but there, Loudon was again able to save the day. The talented freshman fully outreached to get a piece of the shot that would redirect off the crossbar and stay out of the net, leaving the door open for Shipley.
Shipley’s Shaira Mujahid would relish in the opportunity, beating the outreached Boland-Szura to lift the Gators over the Patriots in an instant classic. Mujahid would turn back and run to her team and the celebration ensued.
“It feels really good, it was a great team win and we worked all season for this,” said Shipley senior Emma Baker.
“We have been working non-stop all season and this feels really good,” added fellow senior Jaiden Griffin.
“It just shows how everything we put into the season has paid off,” mentioned Baker when talking about the feeling off winning the cup. “I feel like we have put endless amount of work in and to finally get this victory, it was very well-deserved and felt amazing.”
Congratulations Shipley, you are the 2021 Commonwealth Cup champions!
Editor’s Note: This year, the PAISAA committee instituted a new two-divisional competition format in which teams could opt to compete in this season. Division I teams compete for the PAISAA State Championship, while Division II teams have the opportunity to compete for the PAISAA Commonwealth Cup.
PAISAA Round 1:
No. 4 Episcopal Academy defeated No. 5 Agnes Irwin 2-0
EA Goals: Quinn Whitaker (2), assists: Alexa Capozzoli & Bella Piselli
No.6 Baldwin School defeated No. 3 Penn Charter 4-1
Baldwin Goals: Callie Stoltz (2), Bela Ahn and Brianna Wright
No. 2 Academy of Notre Dame defeated No. 7 Germantown Friends School 3-0
PAISAA Round 2 (Semifinals):
No. 1 Springside Chestnut Hill defeated No. 4 Episcopal Academy 3-2
No. 2 Academy of Notre Dame defeated No. 6 Baldwin School 2-0
The 2021 PAISAA Championship will be played between No. 1 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and No. 2 seeded Academy of Notre Dame on Wednesday, November 17 – time and place TBD.