West tops Henderson in 1st-place battle
In a driving rain at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium, Downingtown West edged host West Chester Henderson, 1-0, under the lights Thursday evening in a battle of Ches-Mont leaders.
The Whippets’ key victory improved West’s record to 7-2 (6-0 Ches-Mont), while the Warriors fell to 8-3 (5-2 Ches-Mont).
“We did a good job possessing the ball under tough conditions,” said Downingtown West coach Jeff Riccardo. “The ball runs fast when it’s wet. We ground it out tonight, got a goal early, and we did what we had to do defensively to preserve the win.
“I thought we did a good job tonight as a whole — no one player in particular, but we were solid everywhere, consistent in every position.”
Junior midfielder Romea Riccardo, who is committed to University of North Carolina for field hockey, scored the game’s lone goal at 22:36 in the first half for the Whippets.
Jeff Riccardo said, “Romea really does a good job holding down the middle for us.”
The West coach praised his defensive backfield for keeping Henderson off the scoreboard: sophomore left back Anna Miller, sophomore center back Celina Riccardo, junior right back Laine Garber and senior sweeper Emily Brechbill.
“I felt like our speed was good tonight,” said Celina Riccardo. “Playing in the rain tonight, I tried to think positive when I was running to the ball. It can be tough to stop the ball on a night like this — the ball skips when it’s wet.”
West goalie Caitlyn Coker wasn’t challenged often Thursday night, but she made two saves to help preserve the shutout.
“Caitlyn doesn’t get a lot of action back there, but when she’s needed, she does a great job for us,” said Jeff Riccardo.
Henderson head coach Jen O’Donnell said, “This was a very tough loss for us. It wasn’t because of the rain, we didn’t play our best game tonight, and Downingtown played well. We let Downingtown dictate the pace, we were waiting for the ball instead of attacking like we did in our last game against Kennett. We were slow out there, and letting Downingtown pass around us. You can’t wait for the ball.”
Downingtown West’s Romea Riccardo (11) and Henderson’s Jordyn Bauer track the ball through the rain Thursday night at Henderson.
Downingtown West’s Taylor Orsini (12) and Henderson’s Meghan Breslin (15) chase Jordyn Bauer (23) Thursday night.