skip navigation

SOCCER: Westtown Girls, Shipley Boys Put Finishing Touches on Perfect League Play, Take Home FSL Championship

By Josh Abrams. (Photos/ Lennie Malmgren), 11/01/22, 11:00AM EDT


Westtown Girls Soccer 2022 FSL Champions (Photo/Josh Abrams)

Photos: Lennie Malmgren

BY JOSH ABRAMS (@jabrams1998)

Two perennial powerhouses added yet another piece of hardware to their respective trophy collections. The lady Moose of Westtown School ran away from the lady Gators of The Shipley School with a 4-0 rout while the gentlemen Gators won a classic, nail-biting 1-0 matchup over the visiting Germantown Friends School. Both squads capped off a season of undefeated league play and captured the 2022 Friends School League Championship.

Since the 2016 season, five of the six FSL Girls Soccer championship games have featured both Shipley and Westtown (no 2020 game due to pandemic). The Gators took the first matchup in 2016 by a score of 2-1 before the Moose three-peated from 2017-2019, shutting out Shipley in all three games. And although Saturday was not nearly as tight as these previous games were, it still had victory written all over it for the Westtown ladies.

Westtown asserted their dominance in both halves, as they received early goals from junior midfielder Berta Grohmann and freshman striker Camille Bley. Two second half goals from Camille’s older sister, Olivia Bley, helped seal the deal for Westtown as Shipley struggled mightily with creating quality offensive possessions down the stretch. It was quite the fitting finish for the Moose and especially for head coach Lee Craigie, who had to have been more than satisfied with this one compared to last time the two teams met.

“We played them a couple weeks ago and won 3-2 but they gave us a really good game,” said Craigie. “We made some mistakes, gave away a sloppy goal and a PK. So today, we talked about being better in both 18-yard boxes. If you’re hard to score against, you've got a better chance of winning the game.”

Westtown goalie Lucy Smith helped pace her Team's Defense. (VIdeo/Josh Abrams for PSD)

Westtown vs. Shipley - PSD 2022 FSL Championship Highlights by Josh Abrams

“We also spoke a lot about working more as a cohesive unit, and today I think we were able to score goals at good moments. The first goal 15 minutes in kind of settled us down a bit. Obviously going into the half up 2-nil was great but we also had a great opportunity to make it 3 so we also went over that,” said Craigie.

Westtown was able to redeem themselves though. The icing on the cake came with about 20 minutes remaining in the second half, when senior striker Olivia Bley scored her second goal of the contest. The usual celebration of a scored goal was louder than normal for this occasion; the goal was Bley’s 31st of the 2022 season which broke her own school record for single season goals scored. It was a moment the West Chester native will never forget, even for reasons beyond herself.

Westtown Senior Captain Olivia Bley talks about the significance of her game winning goal. (video/ Josh Abrams for PSD)

“I just love soccer and I love playing with this team,” Olivia Bley said. “My goal is to get to 100 goals in my time here. That’s something that motivates me. My team supports me and understands that I have a goal and they try to help me (in every way) and that’s why I love playing with them.”

The senior knows she could not do any of this on her own, adding: “Every goal counts, like I was just as excited for my goal as I was for my sister’s and Berta’s. When we win as a team it’s a lot of fun.”

Westtown improved to 13-3 overall on the season (8-0 in FSL play) and awaits their next opponent, Academy of Notre Dame in Round 2 of the PAISAA state tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 8th.

Shipley School - 2022 FSL Boys Soccer Champions - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

Shipley School - 2022 FSL Boys Soccer Champions - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

Intense Championship Contest between Shipley and Germantown Friends

The second game of the day consisted of a thrilling 1-0 contest which favored the home team and top seed in the bracket, The Shipley School, over Germantown Friends School. With 27:40 showing in the second half of what was an extremely tight contest, senior Jack McDaid sailed a free kick over a wall of GFS defenders and past the Tigers’ goalie for the lone tally of the game.

“They (GFS) were very organized, and we knew they were going to try and frustrate us with their defense,” McDaid said. “We tried to stay focused and calm and knew that chances were going to come if we didn’t let them get in our heads. Composure was a huge part of that.”

Shipley, which came into the game as the 14th ranked team in the nation, held tough and strong against a feisty Germantown Friends School the entire way, even as the Tigers created multiple chances for themselves in the final 10 minutes. Shipley goalkeeper Alexi Amanatidis was more than instrumental in helping keep the contest at 1-0 in favor of his team.

“I made sure the back line was organized and that everyone was on their assignments,” the senior captain said. “I was just trying to stay as calm as possible and make sure the back post was covered (since that’s my main responsibility).”

The win secured back-to-back FSL championships for the Gators. Last year was a 4-1 romping of Westtown, and while this year’s championship was not nearly as much of a blowout, Shipley head coach Thom Schauerman showed more than enough confidence during all facets of the game that it would be his team that came out on top in the end.

“I think we know that when we get balls into dangerous areas, we’ll either create goal scoring opportunities or get fouled,” said Schauerman. “Having guys that are comfortable with the ball at their feet and being able to take on their opponents one-on-one when they’re in the final third (of the field), sometimes it lends itself to a free kick here and there.”

Shipley's Jack McDaid's game-winning free-kick goal. (video/ Lennie Malmgren for PSD)

Shipley Senior Jack McDaid Talks About Team Dynamics Going into the Final. (video/Josh Abrams for PSD)

And sometimes having trust in your players is the final recipe for true success. Schauerman and company stayed true to their gameplan and fortunately for Shipley they were able to have McDaid in the right position at the right time to be able to take, and then make, the free kick.

“We have some great free kick takers… and I think that was kind of the difference today,” Schauerman said. “We took care of the ball, I felt like we managed the game and they (GFS) sat in and tried to counterattack as much as possible, but I knew eventually we would break them down.”

Much of Shipley’s poise and composure can be attributed to the fact that they are an extremely senior-heavy team; 15 of them to be exact. McDaid and his twin brother Joe McDaid are two of them. It goes without saying winning a championship is one of the greatest feelings ever for an athlete. But Jack McDaid reflected on beyond just that.

Shipley vs. Germantown Friends - PSD 2022 FSL Championship Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

“Being here for four years, coach Thom has been great to me and my brother,” Jack McDaid said. “And having Joe has been great (too) for four years because we push each other. Anytime I’m dropping my level (of play) at all he is always there to pick me up and vice versa. He’s been a huge help for me just in life in general and he’s helped this Shipley team a lot.”

Shipley Head Coach Thom Schauerman talks about playing against a tough Germantown Friends Team. (video/Josh Abrams for PSD)

Shipley senior goalie Alexi Amanatidis talks about leading the defense and his role in this close match-up. (video/ Josh Abrams for PSD)

Still boasting a top-15 ranking nationwide, Shipley improves their record to 16-1 overall and will rest up before facing their next opponent in round one of the PAISAA state tournament this Friday against The George School.