Villa Joseph Marie wins state soccer semifinal
When does Maddie Jimenez enter the game for the Villa Joseph Marie soccer team? "Whenever [coach Rich Finneyfrock] feels he needs me out there," the junior said.
When does Maddie Jimenez enter the game for the Villa Joseph Marie soccer team?
"Whenever [coach Rich Finneyfrock] feels he needs me out there," the junior said.
On Tuesday night at Spring-Ford High, that "whenever" was just 10 minutes into the contest.
Finneyfrock made the right choice.
Jimenez entered the PIAA Class AAA semifinal and immediately injected energy. She finished with a goal and an assist as Villa Joseph Marie defeated Fleetwood, 3-0.
"I feel really good," Jimenez said. "I know when I come off the bench I have to perform. There's really no time to waste."
She didn't waste much time. And it was just when the Jems (21-1-1) needed it, as Fleetwood (24-2) hit the post within the first minute.
"There was a lot of tension - a big wake-up call," senior forward Murphy Agnew said of almost going down a goal. "We were like, let's make that their only chance of the game.
"I think it was good wake-up call," the Harvard recruit added. "Because I don't think we started the game prepared."
But VJM responded to the early scare, scoring three goals in a span of 81/2 minutes.
Erica Behr got the first one off a corner kick, when Eva Ruppersberger sent a beautiful ball to the far post for Behr to head it in. A few minutes later, Jimenez took it up the right side and sent it to Agnew, who one-timed it in. Jimenez added the third goal, having drastically changed the trajectory of the contest.
"Jimi is a great player. She's strong, she's fast," Agnew said. "She can take people on. She scares defenders. She definitely played a big role in basically all the goals today."
On Friday, the Jems will return to Hershey and the state title game for the third straight year.
As a freshman, Jimenez sat the bench, having spent the season on junior varsity. As a sophomore, she saw time.
What's in store for her third trip?
For starters, she'll enter the game when Finneyfrock sees a need for her.
The rest will be up to her.
Fleetwood 0 0 - 0
Villa Joseph Marie 3 0 - 3
Goals: VJM - Erica Behr, Murphy Agnew, Maddie Jimenez
Saves: F - Riley Scepansky 8; VJM - Olivia Eife 5