ROYERSFORD — Megan Giannopoulos and Spring-Ford took control of their Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinal girls soccer game against streaking Upper Perkiomen in the early going Tuesday evening at Coach McNelly Stadium.
Giannopoulos, a senior midfielder, scored two of her three goals in the first 12 minutes of the game as the Rams made their first-ever Final Four appearance result in a 4-0 victory over the Indians and a berth in the PAC-10 championship game on Thursday evening against Boyertown.
The contest will be the second game of a doubleheader that begins with the Spring-Ford boys taking on Perkiomen Valley at 5:30 p.m. The girls' game will start 30 minutes after the completion of the first game.
Spring-Ford (12-1-1) led 3-0 by halftime with Aley Kate McKinley scoring the third goal for the Rams against the Indians (10-4-0).
Julie Pennington, Sarah Hancock and Brianna Cirino assisted on the first three goals for Spring-Ford.
Spring-Ford defeated Upper Perkiomen, 5-0, during the regular season. This game nearly approached that, but the Rams were concerned about the Frontier Division Indians because the Tribe went on a hot streak right after that setback.
Now it will be the history-making Rams against the two-time defending league champion Bears in the title game between two Liberty Division schools.
Giannopoulos scored in the second minute of the game off a long cross by Pennington for a quick Ram start.
Spring-Ford wanted to make sure it had a fast start, and the Rams did so."Honestly, it was very important,' said Giannopoulos. "We were really nervous about this team because of their quickness. We had to be ready. They were on a winning streak and they are a good team. We scored the two goals and that set us apart. We kind of got rid of the anxiety. Getting goals early is so important and helpful.'
On the second goal, Giannopoulos stripped the ball from an Indian defender and deposited it in the net from middle range in front of the goal.
McKinley netted the third goal a minute later to provide a major cushion for the Rams.
Giannopoulos completed her hat trick in the 54th minute for the lone second-half goal with an assist by Kaitlyn Dougherty off a dribble penetration down the left side of the field."This was the first time we were in the PAC-10s,' said Spring-Ford coach Sheldon Chamberlain. "It is our first win in the tournament, so we made history."We got in the PAC-10 Final Four. We won our first game. We convinced everyone that we belong here. We had a super effort. We scored goals early and dominated the whole field and penetrated the ball. We had speed. We had ball control, and we had flair on the one goal.'
Spring-Ford goalie Hope Davis had to make just three saves in the shutout. Maggie Ortlip notched nine saves for the Indians.
Upper Perkiomen coach Mike Freed said he told his girls what they would be up against."We talked in our whole preparation that this team is in its first time in the PAC-10s, playing on their home field and under the lights,' said Freed. "They had the adrenaline. We had to weather the storm, but we just didn't do it. We knew from during the regular season that they are a veteran group. They run well and spread the field. Early on we had to keep it close, but we didn't. It's disappointing.'
Upper Perkiomen is still hopeful of getting a good seed and making a solid showing in the District 1-AA playoffs.