Westmont Hilltop defeated rival Bishop McCort Catholic for the first time in three one-goal games this season and captured the Hilltoppers’ first District 6 crown in nearly a decade on Tuesday night.
Junior Alex Sutt scored the game’s lone goal and sophomore goalkeeper Joe Becker had a strong performance as the Hilltoppers edged the Crushers 1-0 at Richland High School’s Herlinger Field.
The victory sends Westmont Hilltop into the PIAA Class A Tournament against the District 10-A champion, either Iroquois or Mercer.
“My philosophy this year was believe in one another and great things can happen,” said Westmont Hilltop coach Jason Hughes, whose team is 12-6-1 and won the program’s ninth district title. “By the way they played, they trusted every group of 11 players that I had on the field and it showed. That was the deciding factor, believing in each other.”
Bishop McCort closed a 13-6-1 season. The Crimson Crushers had beaten host Westmont 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 19 and 2-1 on Oct. 12 at Point Stadium.
“It’s always going to be a close game, a tough game, when McCort plays against Westmont,” Bishop McCort coach Ron Spinelli said. “They’re a good team. They have excellent ball movement, excellent control. They’re a well-disciplined team and a good representative for this district going into the states.
“You beat them twice in the regular season; it’s hard to beat a good team like this three times in one year. All three were one-goal games. We’re evenly matched teams.”
Sutt scored with 28:10 remaining in the first half.
“We’ve been yelling at Alex Sutt to use his left foot all season,” said Hughes, who played on four Westmont District 6-championship teams and helped the Hilltoppers advance to the state final during his senior season.
“I think he has four shots all season with his left foot. Today was one of them and it was a deciding factor in the game.”
The Crushers put some pressure on Becker late in the game, but the keeper turned away two well-placed shots, pushing the ball off the football crossbar above the cage each time.
“For a sophomore Joey is one of the most mature players I’ve had the privilege to coach,” Hughes said.
Becker credited his teammates with a big assist.
“It was very awesome,” Becker said. “Our team played amazing. They had some shots but I was able to get to them and make some saves. I couldn’t have done it without the team.”
The Hilltoppers took home gold medals for the first time since 2008.
“We had the so-called curse on us for years and we finally broke it,” Becker said. “We had amazing heart and we pulled it off. We believed in ourselves.”