Boyertown’s Maddie Balga, left, and Owen J. Roberts’ Emilie Kupsov battle for possession Monday night. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)
Boyertown's Maddie Balga, left, and Owen J. Roberts' Emilie Kupsov battle for possession Monday night. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

BUCKTOWN — Emilie Kupsov didn't have time to notice the similarities of the situation. She didn't have the time to take it as a cautionary tale either.

Not so long ago — a year ago in the Pioneer Athletic Conference girls soccer championship — an Owen J. Roberts standout named Emily stepped up to a free kick and decided to give it a go with her off-foot.

That time it was masterful midfielder Emily Morgan, two-time All-Area Player of the Year, whose left-footed penalty kick ricochet off the post was the decisive moment in Boyertown winning its second straight PAC-10 title, 5-4 on penalty kicks, over its archrival.

Owen J. Roberts’ Liz Bealer (8) and Boyertown’s Emily Diehl (15) battle for control of the ball next to OJR’s Aubrey Syrek during
Owen J. Roberts' Liz Bealer (8) and Boyertown's Emily Diehl (15) battle for control of the ball next to OJR's Aubrey Syrek during Monday's PAC-10 girls soccer game. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

So Monday night, when the two rivals met again for the first time this season, it was poetic seeing an OJR standout named Emilie line up to a free kick — this one just outside the 18-yard box — and decide she wasn't going with her dominant foot. The stakes were nearly as high — down 1-0 to the Bears, the Wildcats were on the cusp of a third straight defeat.

The result was quite different.

Kupsov, a sophomore, perfectly placed her right-footed shot to the low right corner of goal to tie the game 1-1 with 10 minutes left in regulation after Boyertown had taken the lead through Lily Fanok's goal early in the second half. Through the rest of regulation and two overtimes the margin would remain the same as OJR and Boyertown settled for a 1-1 draw at Wildcat Stadium.


At the end of the 100-minute meeting both Boyertown coach Bill Goddard and Owen J. Roberts coach Joe Margusity were left uttering the same word: typical.

"It's a typical Boyertown-Owen J. girls soccer game,' Goddard said. "It's always a one-goal game. Last year's final went to PKs. Whether it's here, there, a neutral site, it's always a well-played, hard-fought game.'

Boyertown’s Maria Garafolo and OJR’s Katie Dempsey compete for a header off a corner kick in front of the OJR goal during Monday’s PAC-10
Boyertown's Maria Garafolo and OJR's Katie Dempsey compete for a header off a corner kick in front of the OJR goal during Monday's PAC-10 girls soccer game. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

Boyertown (0-0-2, 1-0-2) could take heart for battling through a third straight double overtime game and for scoring a goal in the run of play. It came when Taylor Sassaman's cross was played back toward center by Jillian Bertino to an on-rushing Lily Fanok who finished the ball into the empty goal at 33:14 in the second half.

"Anytime you come to Owen J. and steal a point — not many people win here — it's a good thing,' Goddard said. "We've figured out how to get a point. It's on the road and not a loss. That's three double overtime games in a row for us so we're going to be very battle-tested.'

The draw also had the Wildcats taking heart after avoiding a third straight defeat following losses to PAC-10 upstart Spring-Ford (2-0 Friday) and a non-league loss to Downingtown East on Saturday.

"I think from our standpoint and where we are right now, and not having Hanna (Glass, out injured following a collision against Spring-Ford), who was our leading scorer, it feels like a step in the right direction,' Margusity said.

It was nearly a win for OJR (1-1-1, 1-3-1) after being awarded a penalty kick when Katie Dempsey was ruled to have been taken down inside the penalty area with 41 seconds left in regulation. But senior defender Gabby McKee missed the target wide right, leading to the overtime periods.

"I feel bad for Gabby. She got a little jazzed up. She's first-team All-Conference for as many years as she's played and she just wanted to end that game then and there,' Margusity said. "But she settled herself down and really shut down what they were doing.'

Indeed, McKee, a three-time All-Area first team selection, did recompose herself to lead the back line for OJR, along with Maddy Cantello and Sarah Hume, which wouldn't concede again. They were equaled by the Boyertown defense of Marie Valenti, Courtney Goddard, Ashley Becker and Emily Saxon. Both goalkeepers, Sarafina Valenti of Boyertown (six saves) and Kristen Emig of Owen J. Roberts (six saves), each stood up to the test as well.

The penalty miss would have been far more difficult to take for the Wildcats had Kupsov not come through with her free kick 10 minutes earlier.

"I was trying to decide what side to go to. I saw the wall set up and saw that open shot and decided to place it rather than take a hard shot,' she said. "I can play it with both feet and I saw the right corner open so I wanted to take it with my right foot rather than left.'

Up to that point Boyertown looked on its way to victory, especially after Maddie Balga's near-miss on a shot that blasted off the left post.

"Moments before they scored we dinged one off the post. Otherwise we're up 2-0. But you have to make those plays. And we didn't,' Goddard said. "It's not necessarily what you hope for in the early part of the season, but I love the effort our kids gave. We've just got to tuck away the chances because you don't get many in games like this.'

That fact made it all the more important to OJR to not suffer another PAC-10 defeat.

"We tackled our way into the game and worked really hard. I think we matched their play eventually. We're playing with a new formation (3-5-2) and it's really hard but I think we stepped it up,' Kupsov said.

"I think it's a great rivalry (with Boyertown). I think if we keep pushing we'll eventually get that win (on them).'NOTES

The teams were even in shots on goal, 7-7, and total shots, 14-14. Both teams were threatening on corner kicks, especially in the first half. OJR ultimately led in that department, 9-8.