When the season began, the Tulpehocken High School girls' soccer team had three main goals - to win the division, repeat as District 3-A champions, and go further in the states than last year. They accomplished all three goals.
However, that thought didn't do much towards taking the sting away from the Trojans' Nov. 12 1-0 loss to Southern Columbia in the semifinal round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
The Lady Trojans were just two wins away from the ultimate goal of a state championship, but couldn't find the back of the net against a tough Southern Columbia defense that held Tulpehocken to just two shots in the game.
Madelyn Stabinski gave Southern Columbia a 1-0 lead just a little more than five minutes into the game. Then they just shutdown the Tulpehocken offense the rest of the way and advanced themselves to the state championship game.
"We started slow and a little nervous I think,' said Tulpehocken head coach Paul Zerbe. "The first 10 minutes we didn't play consistent, solid soccer. Overall we didn't play our best game, and we panicked a lot of the time and failed to get and keep the ball. We needed to possess the ball better and find a better and more creative attack in the final third. We did generate 10 corners, but of late we have had difficulty converting on them.'
Although it was a disappointing ended, it was still a very good season for the Trojans. They won nine of 10 games in the Berks League which was good enough to win the Division 3 title. Then Tulpy swept through four District 3-A playoff games, allowing just two goals in the four games. A 3-1 victory over Millville in the championship game earned the Trojans their second straight district title and their third in six years.
"Wining the district championship was truly amazing,' said Coach Zerbe. "Halifax played us tough and we had some good chances early, but failed to capitalize. I'm so proud of the team and their efforts. This is a long journey for them and they played great . They were focused on getting the gold medal.'
Victoria Stump scored two goals for Tulpehocken in the district championship game, while Myriah Troutman scored one.
"Overall we needed to play our game the way we did all year,' said Zerbe. "We kept our players fresh with the depth of our bench and that was a positive factor. We defended their top two attackers in the midfield well and limited them to only a few restart chances that were very dangerous. Ultimately it was the work of the entire team from day one that got them through with the championship.'
Next was a 2-0 victory over Christopher Dock in the first round of the PIAA Class A state tournament. Last year the Trojans were eliminated in the first round of the state tourney, which meant that no matter what happened after that, the girls went further this year than they did last.
Unfortunately, Southern Columbia didn't allow Tulpy to go any further. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a great season for the Trojans.
"The season was more than I could of asked for,' said Zerbe. "To win 22 games out of 25 is quite an accomplishment. Then to do it two years in a row says a lot about the overall program here at Tulpehocken. We played with desire and had good numbers off the bench.
"The players, coaches, and administration at Tulpehocken are very supported and committed to teaching student athletes the importance of interscholastic sports in shaping young adults lives. We try as a staff to prepare the athletes for life, so we instill a level of commitment, dedication and responsibility throughout the year, and demand that from our players. The fact that we have won three district titles in the past six years goes to show a high level of excellence her at Tulpy.'