The Radnor boys soccer team capped off its season with a District 1 AAA Championship win, and a defeat of Fleetwood High School in the first round of the Pennsylvania state tournament. Although the season ended with a heartbreaking loss to Gettysburg in penalty kicks, Radnor’s season will go down in the school’s history books.
In the regular season, the team won 10 games, lost 7, and tied 1. Two of the most notable games came at the end of the season, with Radnor wins over an undefeated Lower Merion squad, and against Garnet Valley to propel them into the District playoffs. Other decisive wins against their Central League opponents, including Ridley, Strath Haven, and Springfield, put the team in good position for its future.
Throughout the year and particularly in the playoffs, the Radnor Ruckus maintained a defining presence in the stands. Students kept the bleachers at max capacity, staying loud and encouraging their team unflaggingly. Radnor has prided itself on its always strong student support of the wide-ranging athletic programs.
As the team entered the District 1 AAA playoffs, they would first have to take on Phoenixville. Both teams fought hard throughout, keeping the score tied at 0-0 at halftime. A second half goal put Phoenixville ahead, but Radnor had no intentions of giving up here. Trailing 1-0 in the final minutes, Radnor soon equalized the score to keep their season alive. Neither team scored in the overtime period, sending the game to penalty kicks. Miles Maesaka, Andrew Boujoukos, and Bobby Kirsch all took care of business offensively, each sending the ball to the back of the net in their penalty attempts. Radnor’s All-Central League Second Team goalie, Ben “Brick Wall” Toomey did not allow any of the Phoenixville kicks in, thus sending Radnor into the next round of playoff contention.
Radnor would have to play their second round game against Bishop Shanahan, a team they narrowly defeated 1-0 in September. Strong defense was the story of the District 1 AAA Semifinal. At 0-0 through regulation, Radnor would have to once again compete in overtime. Radnor’s All-Central League Second Team junior, Ryan Peter, scored after just a few minutes into the period, sealing a 1-0 victory for the Raiders. Students quickly stormed the field in a moment of sheer joy, as Radnor would now have the opportunity to play in the District 1 Final.
The District 1 AAA Championship will be viewed as a game for the ages. Radnor would take on Holy Ghost Prep at the neutral site of Great Valley High School. Under the bright lights, packed crowd, and high stakes, Radnor felt the weight of the game right at the beginning. Yet their immense determination did not falter in this crucial moment. Radnor dominated the first half, getting a couple shots on goal, and retaining possession for most of the period. Still, nothing would give, and the score, like many other times during the season, was tied at 0.
Shortly into the second half, Holy Ghost scored on a cross into the box. After this. Toomey stayed strong in net, making sure to keep the damage Holy Ghost did to a minimum. As the second half continued, things looked bleak for Radnor. But, with only 14:40 left in regulation, senior and major contributor Phil Regan provided Radnor with the hope it had fed on throughout the playoffs. He fired a first shot, which was deflected by the goalie and returned back to Reagan, followed by a second attempt that punched the back of the net. All of the sudden, Radnor found itself in a familiar position: they would have to win in overtime.
In OT, Radnor faced a major scare, after Holy Ghost pushed into offensive territory. Their shot looked as if it was destined to go in, but this would not be the story, with thanks to Miles Maesaka. Maesaka cleared the shot off the line, avoiding a sure defeat, and blessing a new lease on life for the Radnor squad. Then, Andrew Boujoukos came in the clutch. On a counter in the box, he sent the ball into the net, thus sealing the District 1 AAA Championship for the Raiders. The electric Radnor crowd immediately joined the team celebration, after yet another hard-fought victory. This combination of euphoria and pride captured the essence of the playoffs for Radnor, as they would now advance to the state tournament.
At Hatboro-Horsham High School, Radnor faced Fleetwood out of Berks County, Pennsylvania. This test did not prove as difficult for the Raiders. About 17 minutes in, Radnor took the lead 1-0, and with 24 minutes remaining, Radnor scored again to ultimately defeat Fleetwood 2-0.
Now, they would play Gettysburg in the state quarterfinals at Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. After trailing most of the game 1-0, Radnor kept their season alive once more with a perfectly executed penalty kick at 3 minutes remaining. Another overtime was in store, followed by a round of penalty kicks. In the PKs, though, Radnor narrowly came up short, ending its season arguably as one of Radnor’s strongest teams ever.
On the season, Radnor captain Jack Miller told the Radnorite:
“It was an absolutely historic run; to be able to say that we are one of four teams to win a state playoff game is truly amazing. From being tied for third to last in the Central League midway through the season, it seemed impossible that we would end up where we did, but that just shows what our team is about, heart and hustle. Going to four overtimes in five playoff games would take a toll on any team but we just kept winning and made the most out of our season, or what most of the team called it: a ‘second season’. As a captain and senior, I could not have asked for a better way to end my Radnor soccer career.”
Miller was one of the team’s crucial contributors throughout the year, earning All-Central League First Team honors.
Radnor also had important contributions from all its seniors throughout. They are:
Andrew Boujoukos, Emmett Burns, Calvin Congleton, Patrick Farren, Cal Hanson, Jordan Lian, Miles Maesaka, Jack Miller, and Phil Regan, Ben Toomey, and Dylan Zamsky.
No one from the outside expected such a feat for the under the radar Radnor team. But as Miller mentioned, the versatile group of players distinguished themselves through heart and hustle. These two factors unleashed a world of opportunity, and an incredible season for Radnor Soccer.