First Thing’s First

John­son’s two goals lift Ox­ford to first-ever dis­trict play­off win

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Sam Ste­wart sstew­art@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Sa­muel_Ste­wart7 on Twit­ter

ROY­ERS­FORD >> Hey Ox­ford, time to re­write the record books.

Stan­ford com­mit Sarah John­son came alive in the sec­ond half, scor­ing the game-ty­ing and even­tual game-win­ning goals as the Hor­nets stunned No. 14 SpringFord 3-2 for their first ever dis­trict play­off win Mon­day night at Coach McNelly Sta­dium.

“It’s hon­estly an amaz­ing feel­ing,” John­son, a se­nior said. “We all worked so well to­gether tonight and we just want to keep go­ing and build for our fu­ture.”

The Hor­nets, who were bounced in the first round of dis­tricts last year in a 2-1 loss to Haver­ford, will travel to Down­ing­town West for a Dis­trict 1-AAA sec­ond round matchup Wed­nes­day at 3:30 p.m. It’s a matchup that seemed out of the ques­tion through the first 35 min­utes Mon­day as Spring-Ford con­trolled the pace of play — and the score­board — build­ing a 2-0 lead off of goals from Lexie Nu­gent and Caro­line Todd.

In pre­vi­ous games, this was Ox­ford’s demise. This game, how­ever, the Hor­nets fi­nally bucked a nasty trend.

“If we don’t score first we have a very hard time win­ning,” Ox­ford head coach Anne Marie An­der­son said. “The con­fi­dence that

we have when we score first gives us kind of a push to­wards win­ning the game. When they scored it took us for a whirl but that sec­ond half they came out and they were ready to win. I knew it by the looks on their faces. They were push­ing the ball, han­dling it well and con­nect­ing on all of their passes.” And scor­ing. Reese Canady put the vis­i­tors on the board less than two min­utes af­ter Todd’s strike, knock­ing in a re­bound that car­omed of the stick of a Spring-Ford de­fender and into the back of the cage. She was fol­lowed by John­son eight min­utes later, who avenged her cage-rat­tling re­verse chip that struck off the cross­bar in the first half. Off a corner try and en­su­ing scrum in front of the cage, the ball ric­o­cheted off a Spring-Ford de­fender and onto the stick of John­son, who pro­ceeded to take care of busi­ness, rat­tling home a shot from mid-cir­cle to tie it at 2.

“We knew we had to get some points on the board,” John­son said. “Once we did, the mo­men­tum just kept build­ing. We didn’t let up for one sec­ond.”

John­son then an­swered an­other eight min­utes later. The lefty worked into space and un­loaded a rock­et­ing re­verse chip that fired into the bot­tom por­tion of the cage to give the Hor­nets the even­tual game-win­ning score with 5:14 left.

“That left chip, it’s lethal,” An­der­son said.

“We came into the play­offs last year know­ing that it was our first time be­ing there in a long time so we didn’t know what to re­ally ex­pect,” John­son said. “We were young. This year we knew we didn’t want to lose again be­cause we hated that feel­ing last year.”

Spring-Ford fails to ad­vance to the dis­trict sec­ond round for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son af­ter fail­ing to make the play­offs in 2014. Sarah Cooper and Clare Kennedy reg­is­tered as­sists while goal­keeper Lexi Ciano made eight saves.

“We just can’t close out games,” Spring-Ford head coach Jen­nie An­der­son said. “We played well but we had a lapse in de­fense for about five min­utes at the end there and they cap­i­tal­ized.

“We got off to a hot start. It’s just over the past cou­ple of games we ran into a tough sched­ule and we weren’t able to get that ex­tra goal. Tonight was the same. Our kids played hard, that’s all you can ask from them. The ef­fort was com­pletely there, but we just need to find a way to score. That’s some­thing that we’ll work on and hope­fully take on as a les­son for next year.”

SAM STE­WART — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ox­ford’s Sarah John­son works against Spring-Ford’s Caro­line Todd dur­ing the sec­ond half.

SAM STE­WART — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring-Ford goal­keeper Lexi Ciano tries to clear the ball away from dan­ger dur­ing the first half.

SAM STE­WART — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ox­ford’s Sarah John­son is con­grat­u­lated by team­mates af­ter scor­ing the game-ty­ing goal dur­ing the sec­ond half.

SAM STE­WART — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring-Ford’s Kate­lyn Crist works down the field as a trio of Ox­ford play­ers de­fend dur­ing the first half.

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