Ox­ford claims first-ever dis­trict win

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

LIONVILLE >> In round one of the Dis­trict 1 3A field hockey play­offs, Down­ing­town East reeled off four unan­swered goals in the fi­nal 12 min­utes of ac­tion to bust open a tight af­fair and even­tu­ally oust visit­ing Souderton, 6-2, on a breezy Mon­day af­ter­noon.

The 15th-seeded Cougars notched their first five goals off cor­ners, and it was no co­in­ci­dence se­nior stand­out Kathryn Sheerer was in­volved in them all. A Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity com­mit, Sheerer fin­ished with a goal and four as­sists, pow­er­ing East to round two for a re­match with Cen­tral League power Con­estoga.

“Ev­ery­thing re­ally goes through Kathryn on cor­ners, but we are a threat­en­ing team be­cause we had a lot of in­di­vid­u­als who can score,” said Cougars’ head coach Julie Martelli.

“Cor­ners are a free op­por­tu­nity, and it should be a goal,” Sheerer added. “We’ve worked hard through­out the sea­son on our cor­ners. It was im­pres­sive this game.”

East (10-8-1 over­all) will get an­other shot at sec­ond-seeded ’Stoga on Wed­nes­day. The Pi­o­neers pre­vailed, 4-3, in a reg­u­lar sea­son meet­ing on Sept. 6.

“We are the un­der­dog, but that’s a good place for us,” Martelli said. “We know what to ex­pect, plus I’m sure we will be over­looked be­cause we lost to them ear­lier.”

Play­ing in its first Dis­trict 1 con­test since 2012, Souderton held the lead for most of the first half, and was in a 2-2 dead­lock un­til fad­ing late. The 18th-seeded In­di­ans end the

sea­son with a 9-9-1 over­all mark.

“It’s kind of been a theme this sea­son, where we’ve out-shot and out­cornered teams, but some­thing in us gives out,” said Souderton head coach Ni­cole Bauer. “It’s al­ways about heart and pas­sion. When the two teams are evenly matched, it goes to the team that wants it a lit­tle bit more.”

The In­di­ans had a 1512 edge in cor­ners, but the Cougars were more ef­fi­cient with their op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly late. With the scored tied 2-2 mid­way through the sec­ond half, Down­ing­town East started buzzing around the Souderton goal and even­tu­ally scored what wound up be­ing the game-win­ner. Anna Effin­ger fought hard to win a corner for the Cougars, and Sheerer dished it off to team­mate Jes­sica Wil­cox for her sec­ond goal of the day with 11:11 re­main­ing.

That seemed to open the flood­gates, as East added three more in­sur­ance goals the rest of the way.

“We like to build, and that’s what we did. We came out stronger in sec­ond half. Our men­tal­ity was we ei­ther win or go home, and that re­ally sparked us,” Martelli said.

“At half­time, coach gave us a talk and from there we were more ef­fi­cient,” Sheerer added. “We had a plan, we stuck with it and were able to fin­ish.

“I feel like we started frus­trat­ing (Souderton) by pos­sess­ing the ball. It seemed like we were build­ing while they were crum­bling. And the more goals we scored, the more con­fi­dent we be­came.”

The start was much more prob­lem­atic for the Cougars. Nina Disco opened the scor­ing for the In­di­ans very early off an as­sist from Court­ney Ke­nah, and East didn’t re­spond un­til Caro­line Webb fi­nally broke the scor­ing drought with 1:24 re­main­ing be­fore in­ter­mis­sion.

“Once we scored, we kind of took some mo­men­tum into the break and the sec­ond half,” Martelli said.

Sheerer and Wil­cox com­bined once again on a goal off a corner in the first five min­utes of the sec­ond half, but Disco came right back and fin­ished off an ex­tended pe­riod of pres­sure by Souderton about seven min­utes later to tie it up.

“(Souderton) had some scary and dan­ger­ous shots and they had a ton of cor­ners,” Martelli said. “We were for­tu­nate they weren’t able to cap­i­tal­ize on more of them. The score would have been very dif­fer­ent if they had.”

In ad­di­tion to Wil­cox’s two goals, Webb reg­is­tered a pair and Kayla Barr wrapped it up with a goal in the fi­nal minute.

“We were pa­tient on de­fense and we worked un­til the ball went in the goal,” Martelli ex­plained. “Scor­ing al­ways helps with that.”

Disco scored both of the In­di­ans goals and Jes­sica Gabriel chipped in with an as­sist.

“This group ac­com­plished more than they ex­pected or hoped to,” Bauer said. “For our younger girls, I am ex­cited we were able to at least ex­pe­ri­ence dis­tricts.

“(Down­ing­town East) plays a dif­fer­ent style than we are used to in the Sub­ur­ban One. I thought we de­fended it well in the first half, and then some­thing just gave in the sec­ond half.”


Kathryn Sheerer (be­hind) will get an­other shot at Emma McGil­lis and Con­estoga in Wed­nes­day’s sec­ond round. The Pi­o­neers beat the Cougars ear­lier this year in a non­league meet­ing.

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