Riley Regan scored the game's only goal with five minutes remaining in regulation Friday to give the Villa Joseph Marie soccer team a 1-0 victory over Blue Mountain in the PIAA Class 3A final at HersheyPark Stadium.
The Jems' soccer program is no stranger to success. It's been a dominant force in the Catholic Academies league, and have made frequent appearances in the PIAA state final. The Jems have reached the final the last five seasons, but haven't won it since 2014.
The seniors can go out on top, finally.
"The seniors had motivation to win," coach Rich Finneyfrock said. "They didn't want to get to the final four straight years and lose. They were aware of it for sure."
Villa Joseph Marie, who finished 21-3 overall and 12-0 in the Catholic Academies league, battled through a slew of injuries to get over the hump. Backup goalkeeper Molly McHugh stepped in to record a clean sheet in the win.
"From a team perspective, this was truly a team win. Tonight's win was a culmination of everything we went through."
Strath Haven fell to West Allegheny, 4-0, in the PIAA Class 3A final. West Allegheny's Nathan Dragisich recorded a hat trick.
The Panthers won all three games in the District 1 playoffs, including the title game against Holy Ghost Prep, 3-2.
Strath Haven entered the PIAA Class 3A playoffs as the No. 1 seed from District 1 and held on in the opening round to beat Mechanicsburg 2-1 in overtime. The Panthers then routed Athens, 5-1, to play District 12 foe Archbishop Wood in the state semifinals. The District 1 champs overcame a two-goal deficit in the second half to edge the Vikings, 3-2.
Aaron Young recorded three rushing touchdowns as Coatesville advances to the PIAA Class 6A title game with a 35-7 win over Garnet Valley. The Michigan State recruit scored the first two touchdowns of the game with runs of 14 and 70 yards yard, and his third came from 43 yards out. Ricky Ortega added two touchdowns, including a 57-yard rushing touchdown, while Dupree Bryant returned an interception 91 yards for a score. The Red Raiders will play North Penn for the District 1 title next Friday, where the winner will be placed into the PIAA Class 6A semifinals.
Jalen Sutton-Christian rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to Kamar Cummings on a 20-yard strike to lead Imhotep Charter to the District 12 Class 4A title with a 20-0 triumph over Cardinal O'Hara. It's the third straight year the Panthers have beat the Lions for the district final. Tykee Smith added a 10-yard rushing touchdown for Imhotep, who will play the winner of Dallas and Valley View in the PIAA quarterfinals next weekend.
Jimai Springfield intercepted a pass with less than a minute remaining to seal Pottsgrove's 14-10 decision over Jersey Shore in the school's first state playoff win in the PIAA Class 4A first round. Isaiah Taylor broke loose for a 66-yard touchdown run as Jay Sisko gave the Falcons a 14-7 lead with three minutes left in the first half. Rylee Howard also picked off two passes for the Falcons in the fourth quarter. Pottsgrove will play the winner of Bethlehem Catholic and Saucon Valley in next weekend's quarterfinals.
The Penn Wood-West Chester Rustin PIAA Class 5A semifinal game scheduled for tonight has been postponed to Saturday at 6 p.m. The No. 5 seeded Golden Rams are now hosting the top-seeded Patriots in a venue change.
Upper Dublin's District 1 Class 5A semifinals game against Unionville has been postoned to Saturday at 1:30 p.m due to poor field conditions. The game will remain at Upper Dublin.
Conwell-Egan's PIAA Class 3A first round matchup against North Schuylkill has been postponed to Saturday at 7 p.m. at Northern Lehigh High School.
Ronnie Ellis scored 16 points as Phelps topped Knox School (NY), 62-54, in the Westtown invitational. Justin Anderson added 13 points for the Lions, who will play Covington Prep on Saturday.