Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything

This morning the Aces took on Downingtown West, with a spot in the District 1 Final Four, and PIAA State Playoffs on the line. The Whippets had some early field advantage, but could not generate much offense, other than off restarts. For the 2nd straight game, LM's first touch was a little off, but they made up for it with great hustle. They did have a few scoring chances, but couldn't capitalize, and the 1st half ended 0-0. Ten minutes into the 2nd half the Aces were awarded a penalty kick, but shot wide right. The momentum switched right over to Downingtown, and with less than 18 minutes remaining, the Whippets took a 1-0 lead, coming from a mis-played ball in the Aces box. For the next 17 minutes the LM players took it up a notch, getting numerous opportunities to tie the game, but couldn't solve the Whippet's keeper. Then, with 7 seconds left in the game, the Aces were awarded a free kick from about 45 yards out. Senior Jonny Dolezal, pushing up from his regular sweeper spot, pounced on a rebound and with only 1.3 seconds showing on the game clock LM had tied it up. Amazing.

Two 15 mnitues sudden-death overtime periods would be played, with the Aces riding high on momentum. Depite LM controlling most of the 1st overtime period, and getting a couple of real good scoring chances, the game remained tied. Midway through the 2nd overtime period, Aces senior Israel Nunoz made a fine move on the baseline and centered the ball to an unmarked Max Tassano in front of the net. Tassano couldn't find the handle in time and the ball was shot just wide. The game, and LM's season, would be decided by penalty kicks.

Last year the Aces lost in the District 1 semi-finals, and in the PIAA State quarter-finals, both on penalty kicks. Lets hope it would be different today. Downingtown went first, and converted on their first 3 kicks, with Aces keeper Jack Van Adelsberg just getting a piece of the 3rd one. LM followed suit, as seniors Jordan Wolf, Max Tassano, and Jonny Dolezal also converted, and it was 3-3 with 2 kickers left. The Whippets scored again on their 4th kick, and then their keeper made a beautiful save on Aces junior David Rosenfeld, so it was 4-3 Downingtown with 1 kicker remaining. Downingtown converted their last kick, and LM would go down again on penalty kicks, and end their season. A very tough way to lose.

More blog tomorrow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Playoff Match-ups

The Aces take their 17-2 record, the #2 seed, and an 8-game winning streak, into tomorrow’s quarter-final showdown with defending PIAA State Champion, and #7 seed, Downingtown West. The winner will advance into the District 1 semi-finals next Wednesday night (at a site & time to be announced), and play the winner of the Pennridge (#19 seed) vs. Souderton (#6 seed) game. All 4 District 1 AAA teams making the semi-finals will automatically move on to the PIAA State Playoffs.

One of the surprises of the District 1 playoffs so far has been the play of #19 seed Pennridge (who the Aces beat 3-1 early on in the season), who has knocked off #14 seed West Chester Henderson 2-0, and then #3 seed Council Rock North on penalty kicks. The other surprise is #17 seed William Tennent, who first beat #16 seed Downingtown East 3-2, and then upset #1 seed, and tournament favorite, Pennsbury 1-0.

The 4 quarter-final match-ups tomorrow are as follows:

#17 William Tennent at #8 Central Bucks East

#5 Strath Haven at #4 Unionville

* The 2 winners will play each other in one semi-final

#7 Downingtown West at #2 Lower Merion

#19 Pennridge at #6 Souderton

* The 2 winners will play each other in the other semi-final

Blast from the Past, 1965

The 1965 LM Aces boy’s soccer team could very well be the most dominant team in Aces soccer history. Coming off back-to-back league titles in ’63 & ‘64, the 1965 team was returning many key players from a ’64 team who outscored their opponents 60-6 (an exceptional season in their own right), including their high scorer Steve Davidson.

Davidson, whose 31 goals in a season and 64 career goals still stand as school records for boy’s soccer, captained this explosive team. They also had many other scoring threats in Mark Rash (22 goals), Bill Trimpi, Bill Furber, David Kobinsky, Mike Ross, & Jay Pillard. The ’65 Aces also boasted the best starting midfield line in the district in Jack Pennypacker, Paul Ferst, and Ken Becker. Defensive backs Steve Aichelle and Grover Thompson, along with Jay Littlewood, Steve Mygatt, and standout goalkeeper Toby Pyle, helped record 13 shutouts in 18 games.

After winning the tough Suburban 1 league, and finishing the regular season unblemished with a perfect 14-0 record, the ’65 LM team dominated the first 2 rounds of the District 1 playoffs, pummeling Woodrow Wilson 5-0 in the quarter-finals, and destroying Central Bucks 6-0 in the semi-finals. In the Championship game they took on powerful West Chester, and after regulation & overtime, with the score still tied 1-1, the Aces were awarded the victory, based on a substantial corner kick edge (there was no penalty kick shootout in those days). This victory gave them an invite to the Inter-District game against District 3’s Garden Spot. Playing on a sloppy field at West Chester University, Garden Spot capitalized on a defensive mistake late in the game, and won 1-0, spoiling the ’65 Aces perfect season.

The final stats are mind-blowing, starting with an 8-0 league record and a 17-1 overall record. The offense scored an unbelievable 66 goals in their first 12 games (finishing with 97 for the season), while the defense, in those same first 12 games, recorded 10 shutouts finishing with 13 in all). The closest any other LM team has come to matching their goal total was in 1992, when that team scored 78 goals, and they even played 2 more games. The ’65 Aces also placed a record 7 players on the All-League team; Davidson, Ferst, Trimpi, Rash, Pennypacker, Becker, and Pyle. Davidson & Becker were also picked as All-Scholastic selections.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Playoff Opener

The Aces took on #18 seed Great Valley this afternoon in the 2nd round of the District 1 AAA boy's soccer playoffs. LM welcomed back Michael Lemonick to their starting lineup, after a broken tibia sidelined the junior defenseman almost the entire season, and he would make his presence felt. In the 1st half, the Aces showed some rust from their 10 day layoff, as their usual good first touch and passing game was a little off.

However, with Lemonick's physical play in the back, and co-captain Jonny Dolezal controlling everything else, Great Valley could generate little offense, and the half ended 0-0. Nine minutes into the 2nd half the Aces finally got on the board. Senior Julien Aoyama took a long corner kick from junior David Rosenfeld and ripped a bullit past the helpless Valley keeper. With senior goalkeeper Jack Van Adelsberg playing another solid game in the net, that goal appeared to be enough. Lemonick didn't think so, and with less than 4 minutes remaining he scored on a nice header to ice things up, and the 2-0 win moved the Aces through to the quarter-finals.

This Saturday, on the turf at Arnold Field, LM will play the winner of tonight's game between defending state champion Downingtown West (seeded 7th) and Upper Darby (a dangerous team the Aces beat during the season by a slim 1-0 margin). Gametime will be announced later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Playoff Opponent Set

Last night #18 seed Great Valley beat #15 seed North Penn 1-0 in OT, so LM will host Great Valley on Thursday, at 3 PM. For all the District 1 playoff results go to:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blast from the Past, 1958

1958 was a very unique year for the LM boy's soccer program. The season before, the ’57 Aces went 14-3 and finished 2nd behind Upper Darby in the Suburban One soccer league. Slated to return most of the starters for the 1958 season, Harriton High School opened that summer and absorbed many of the Aces top players.

Despite this setback, Bob Hill’s talented team, co-captained by forwards John Fish & Ed Packel, went 11-1-1 in the powerful Suburban One league and captured the league crown. Fish (11 goals) and Packel (15 goals) provided the scoring, while Jay Ammon, Harry Hasson and junior keeper Stu Ross anchored the defense. The team went on to capture LM’s 2nd District One title in 5 years. Other members of this powerful squad were; forward Ray Truex, John Bernard, George Hofstetter, Ron Tobin & Bill Strong. Packel, Fish & Hasson all were elected to the All-League 1st team. In the District playoffs the Aces beat Unionville 2-1, before falling to Pequea Valley 1-0 in the District final.

Meanwhile, that 1st year Harriton squad finished with a 6-5-3 mark in the same Suburban One league, and between them, LM & Harriton placed 10 players on the All-League 1st & 2nd teams (then called All-Suburban).

On Friday, "Blast from the Past" will highlight one of the most dominant teams in LM Soccer history, the 1965 squad.

Monday, October 26, 2009

District 1 Playoffs Begin

After a week off, the Aces are ready to begin the 2009 "AAA" District 1 Playoffs. As expected, LM drew the #2 seed in the 27 team tournament, right behind #1 Pennsbury. The top 5 seeds receive byes in tomorrow night's 1st round, so the Aces will begin play on Thursday, on the turf at Arnold Field, beginning at 3 PM. Their opponent will be the winner of tomorrow's 1st round match-up between #15 seed North Penn and #18 seed Great Valley.

Other Central League teams making the "AAA" District 1 Playoffs include #5 seed Strath Haven, #10 seed Upper Darby, #12 seed Conestoga, and #26 seed Penncrest (riding the wave of their last week 2-1 upset win over Strath Haven).

In the 5-team "AA" District 1 Playoffs (for mid-size schools), #4 seed Springfield, of the Central League, takes on #5 seed Holy Ghost Prep. No Central League teams are small enough to qualify for the 7-team "A" District 1 Playoffs (for small schools).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

LM wins 3rd Central League Title in a row

Yesterday Strath Haven made up their rained out game with Penncrest from last week. Penncrest came out pumped and defeated the Panthers 2-1 (9-1-1 league), handing the 2009 Central League Championship to the Aces (10-1 league). This is the first time that LM has won the Central League Title 3 years in a row since the mid-80's, when they won it in '84, '85, '86, & '87.

A great achievement by all the Aces coaches and players.

Now it's time for the Aces to take their #2 Inquirer soccer poll ranking into the District One playoffs, with the 1st round games beginning next Tuesday, October 27th. The seeding committee meets this Sunday afternoon to determine the seeding order, where the top 5 seeds receive 1st round byes. LM will probably be seeded #2, right behind Pennsbury. With a bye, LM will host a 2nd round game on Thursday, October 29th. All the playoff info will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blast from the Past, 1954

The 1954 Aces, coached by Bob Hill and co-captained by Jack Robb & J. Piercy, were the winners of the very first official District One Championship playoff game, and also represented District One in the very first Inter-District playoff game against the District Three Champion. At the time, these 2 districts were the best in the state, so everyone considered this Inter-District playoff game the “State Championship”.

With most of the scoring coming from All-League forwards Bob Kessler (also chosen to the All-Scholastic Team, which was another name for All-State) & Tom Miller, and the defense boasting 2 more All-League selections in Dave Buten & Don Dougald, LM easily won the Suburban One League title with a 7-1-0 record. Haverford & Upper Darby were tied for 2nd place, with Abington 4th & Cheltenham 5th. The Aces regular season record was 10-2-3, with an early season loss to then powerhouse North Catholic 3-1, and an 1-0 upset defeat at the hands of Haverford High. The offense scored 32 goals, while the defense allowed just 16 (with 8 shutouts, including 5 in a row).

In the Distrcit One Championship game the Aces took down Bethlehem Liberty 3-1. Not knowing what to expect in the very first Inter-District playoff game, LM showed up with their usual 20-man squad, 2 coaches, and about 20-30 parents, students, & Aces fans. Their District Three opponent, North Lebanon, arrived with a band, cheerleaders, and over half the student body. It must have paid off as LM went down 4-1.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playoff History

LM's only PIAA "AAA" State Champion, the 1987 Aces
Since the 2013 District One boy's soccer playoffs are getting ready to start next Tuesday, let's look back at when they began, and how they developed.

The District One Boy's Soccer Playoffs began in 1954, when the powers to be decided it would be nice to follow basketball's lead and add a post season to the schedule. It was agreed on that the 2 best teams in the district (determined by record and strength of league) would play a single game to earn the title of District One Champion. The Lower Merion Aces beat Bethlehem Liberty 3-1 in this historic game.

The playoff field was then expanded to 4 teams in 1962, and then to 8 in 1965. In 1973 they expanded once again, with each league champion taking part, along with several more teams from the stronger leagues. The match-ups were determined before the season began, i.e. Central League 1st place vs. Suburban One 2nd place, Del-Val 1st place vs. Chesmont 2nd place, etc.

In the early-80's District One created 3 playoff classes, each playing for their own district championship; AAA (large schools), AA (midsize schools), and A (small schools). In the mid-90's a seeding committee was formed, with each league getting representation, and the teams were seeded by record, league standing, and strength of schedule. Now, in the upcoming 2013 AAA District One Playoffs, there are 28 teams vying for the coveted title.

Below is the link to the District 1 Playoff brackets, with dates & other info. The brackets will be blank until this Sunday evening, when all the seeding has been completed. Then all the playoff teams chosen will be entered according to their seed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Regular Season Finale

This afternoon the Aces hosted nationally ranked St. Benedicts Prep. Still stinging from a 1-0 penalty kick loss from last year, LM jumped all over the visitors and held a 3-0 lead at halftime. St. Benedicts came back in the 2nd half, showing why they deserve their ranking, but it was too little too late, as the Aces held on for a 3-2 victory. This win should secure a very high seeding in the District One playoffs for LM, and a 1st round bye.

The seeding meeting will take place this Sunday, with the 1st round of district playoff games beginning on Tuesday, October 27th.

Also today, the 5th annual Steve Fountain Memorial Golf Tournament was held at beautiful Hartefeld National Golf Club. The event was well attended, fully sponsored, and a great success. We thank all of you who sent in donations, or sponsored a hole.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blast from the Past, 1942

From time to time I'm going to be highlighting different teams, and players, from years gone by. I want to make this a weekly feature here on "Coach D's Blog", so current and future players can get a feel of the history behind this great program. This week our subject will be the 1942 squad, coached by LM Soccer Hall of Famer Robert Hill. This team started a string of 7 straight league titles for the Aces, prompting several players from this team to later proclaim, "We taught coach Hill how to win".

The team was led by captain Art Campbell and high-scorer Walt Lownes. Both of these players still share the LM record for scoring the most goals in a single game (6). Making up the backbone of the team were; goalkeeper Jeff Shorts, midfielder (then called halfback) Bob Narrigan, fowards Harry Olson & Frank Zinni, and defender (then called fullback) Bill Sapp.

The league they were in at that time was called the Suburban One League, and was comprised of the 4 biggest public schools in District One; LM, Abington, Upper Darby, and Haverford High. The Aces finished at the top with a 5-1 record (as they played each team twice), with the next closest team, Abington, at 2-2-2. LM's schedule that year looked like this, with the score of the game in ( ); Central (4-1), Haverford School (1-3), West Philadelphia (2-1), Abington (4-1), Episcopal (0-2), Upper Darby (2-0), Frankford (3-2), Haverford High (1-0), Hill School (0-4), Abington (5-3), Friends Select (1-0), Upper Darby (2-0), Haverford High (1-2), and Germantown (2-0). Their final record was 10-4, and there was no postseason, as the district playoffs did not begin until 1954.

Beat your Sister

The Aces played sister high school Harriton last night, before a big crowd from both schools. Even though LM was a heavy favorite on paper, with the pride of the school district on the line you can throw out the records & rankings, as most of you alumni reading this are very aware of. The game played out exactly this way for 75 minutes, as neither team could put one home. But, with under 5 minutes remaining, senior co-captain Jordan Wolf hit a rocket past the helpless Ram's keeper, and the Aces pulled out a hard fought 1-0 victory. Also last night Strath Haven squeaked by Radnor 1-0, and with 1 league game to go on Thursday, Haven (9-0-1 league) kept their slim lead over LM (9-1-0 league).

Monday, October 12, 2009


Here are a few of the LM Soccer Alumni who represented us this year against Radnor. (left to right) Sherlock Griffith, Tim Lord, Juan Munoz, Bob Davidson, David Bloovman, John Howard, Luke Coyle, Bill Winterle, Bart Brenner, (kneeling, left to right) Harry Olson, David Greenhalgh

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last Week

On Saturday morning, in the rain, the LM Alumni team took on the Radnor over-40 club team for the 2nd straight year. Playing for the Alumni Aces were; Sherlock Griffith '73, Bill Winterle '81, Bart Brenner '83, Greg Knepper '88, Chris Schreiner '89, John Howard '91, 'David Bloovman '97, Juan Munoz '98, Tim Lord '99, Chris Mandarino '99, Luke Coyle '00, and Dave Greenhalgh '05. Radnor got 2 goals in the 1st half on quick counters, and added 2 more in the 2nd half, including one coming from a brilliant bicycle kick. LM had their chances but couldn't capitalize, and went down for the 2nd straight year. A good time was had by all.

Following the Alumni Game the current Aces took apart Interboro 8-1 in a non-league contest. LM next will play at Harriton on Tuesday night, at 7 PM. We hope a lot of you local LM Soccer Alumni can come out and join us in the stands to help cheer on the '09 Aces to another win. On Thursday the Aces host Garnet Valley at 3:45 PM in their final Central League game. Should LM win both games, they would need Strath Haven to tie or lose 1 of their last 2 games to win their 3rd straight Central League crown.

On Monday, October 19th, the 5th Annual Steve Fountain Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale. Those who are interested in playing a wonderful golf course, for a great cause, can sign up here on the LM Soccer website. Just click on "Alumni Golf Tournament Info" on the homepage.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Winding Down

In Tuesday’s game with Penncrest, the Lions scored in the first 3 minutes of the game, but it was nothing more than a wake up call for the Aces offense. It didn’t take long for LM to tie it up when senior Julien Aoyama scored on a brilliant header, coming from a Jordan Wolf free kick. A little later Wolf set up senior Max Tassano for LM’s 2nd goal. Right before halftime it was Tassano again, this time coming from a David Rosenfeld corner kick. The Aces scored 2 more in the 2nd half, and this 5-1 victory moved their league record to 7-1. In another key Central League match-up, Strath Haven & Upper Darby played to a scoreless tie, keeping the Panthers in 1st place with an 7-0-1 league mark to LM’s 7-1.

A day after finding out they dropped to #5 in the Inquirer high school boy’s soccer poll, the Aces traveled to Marple for an important Central League contest. Marple played a tenacious game against the superior skilled Aces, hounding the LM offense throughout the game. But the Aces picked up a goal in each half to register their 9th shutout of the season, and took their overall record to 11-2. Tonight Strath Haven beat Conestoga 1-0 to stay on top of the Central League race with LM with just 2 league games remaining.

Don’t forget, Saturday is the “Alumni Game”, on the turf at Arnold Field, so come on out and join us. For those who are planning to play, please arrive no later than 9:15 AM. Kick off will be at 10 AM sharp. After the game lunch will be provided for all LM Soccer Alumni.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Getting Closer

Penncrest scored in the first 3 minutes of the game today, but it was nothing more than a wake up call for the Aces offense. It didn’t take long for LM to tie it up when senior Julien Aoyama scored on a brilliant header, coming from a Jordan Wolf free kick. A little later Wolf set up senior Max Tassano for LM’s 2nd goal. Right before halftime it was Tassano again, this time coming from a David Rosenfeld corner kick. The Aces scored 2 more in the 2nd half, and this 5-1 victory moved their league record to 7-1.

In another key Central League match-up, Strath Haven & Upper Darby played to a scoreless tie, keeping the Panthers in 1st place with an 7-0-1 league mark. Haven has another tough league contest coming up Thursday with Conestoga. Should they tie or lose, and the Aces win their last 3 league games, LM would win the Central League for the 3rd straight year, something that hasn't been done since they won in '84, '85, '86' & '87.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back on Track

After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss Thursday to arch-rival Strath Haven, the Aces bounced back strong this morning with a 5-0 blowout of Methacton, their 8th shutout of the season. LM now stands at 10-2 overall, and 6-1 in league play, with 6 games remaining in the regular season schedule. This coming week has LM hosting Penncrest on Tuesday (3:45 PM), and traveling to Marple on Thursday (3:45 PM), both league games.

This coming Saturday the annual “Alumni Game” will kick off at 10 AM sharp, on the turf at Arnold Field. It will match our LM Alumni squad against a Radnor Alumni Team, followed by lunch, provided for all LMSAA members in attendance (players are asked to arrive at 9:15 AM). At noon, the current Aces will take on Interboro in a non-league contest. We are still looking for more LMSAA players (and supporters) to bolster our LM Soccer Alumni team, so if you’re interested, and already haven’t done so, please email me at: asap. I need to get your jersey size, and compile a final lunch count. We hope you can join us this Saturday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Both the LM Aces & Strath Haven Panthers came out a little tentatively at the start of this afternoon's showdown, trying to get a feel for the game. LM got a couple of good scoring chances, especially one coming off a free kick by senior Jordan Wolf that hit the crossbar, but could not convert, and after 40 minutes of play it was 0-0. The limited scoring opportunities Haven was getting were coming off free kicks, and it was up to LM to play with discipline and keep them to a minimum. Strath Haven was keeping 4 and 5 players back, and with their passing game a little flat thru the midfield, the Aces tried unsuccessfully to play the ball forward into the offensive third of the field. With under 15 minutes remaining Haven capitalized on one of those free kicks, deep in the LM end, and the Aces were behind for only the 2nd time all season. The Aces turned it up a notch the rest of the way, getting several great scoring opportunities, but could not get the equalizer. This 1-0 loss dropped LM (6-1 league) into 2nd place, behind Strath Haven (7-0 league). If there is a silver lining, it's the fact that the Aces have beaten both the other two league contenders, Upper Darby & Conestoga, and Haven still has to play both of them.

Next up is a non-league contest with Methacton this Saturday morning, October 3rd, at 10 AM, on the turf at Arnold Field.