Hen­der­son cruises into Class AA quar­ter­fi­nals

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Barry Sankey For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia @Bar­ry­t_Sankey on Twit­ter

WEST GOSHEN >> West Ch­ester Hen­der­son’s field hockey team pun­ishes its op­po­si­tion with what must seem like droves of tal­ented ath­letes who are very ca­pa­ble of gen­er­at­ing and scor­ing goals.

The War­riors are also able to use their qual­ity stick skills to con­trol the ball much of the time and are also able to limit their foes’ touches with tight de­fense at the other end of the field.

Dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Dis­trict 1 Class AA play­offs Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, host Hen­der­son vir­tu­ally ex­ploded to a vic­tory. Hen­der­son put five goals on the score­board in the first half and sprinted to an 8-0 vic­tory over Phoenixville, which rep­re­sented the Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

The third-seeded War­riors from the Ches-Mont League (now 16-3) ad­vanced to Fri­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal round of com­pe­ti­tion and will face the win­ner of Wed­nes­day night’s game be­tween two more Ches-Mont League mem­bers, Great Val­ley and West Ch­ester East.

Phoenixville, the 14th seed with its young squad that in­cludes just two se­niors, com­pleted its cam­paign with a 10-9-1 over­all record un­der first-year head coach JaJa Ken­twell, who is also well-known for his abun­dant work with the WC Ea­gles club teams.

While the Phan­toms have lim­ited weapons at this point, coach Jen O’Don­nell has vast am­mu­ni­tion at Hen­der­son. She has been pro­duc­ing win­ners since ar­riv­ing on the scene seven years ago, in­clud­ing a Ches-Mont cham­pi­onship in 2010, af­ter a suc­cess­ful three-year run at neigh­bor­ing West Ch­ester Rustin prior to that time.

The War­riors got on the board with Jil­lian La­timer’s goal on an as­sist by Olivia Griffith at the 28:58 mark of the first half and pro­ceeded to roll from that point for­ward. Hen­der­son used its large lead to help in­sti­tute a run­ning clock dur­ing the sec­ond half.

Two of Hen­der­son’s top per­form­ers in­cluded se­nior Emma Ber­trando and ju­nior Lexi Dun­leavy.

“We are start­ing to work well to­gether,” said Ber­trando. “We are peak­ing at the right time. We want to keep go­ing. We have been con­nect­ing bet­ter, and that leads to goals.”

Bernard ended the day with two goals and one as­sist. Late­comer ended up with two goals and a pair of as­sists, and Kasey Collins con­trib­uted two straight goals that gave Hen­der­son a 3-0 cush­ion with 13:33 re­main­ing un­til half­time.

Dun­leavy chipped in with one goal and one as­sist while Claire Ap­ple­bee also had one goal. Is­abelle Harkins pro­vided a pair of as­sists.

“This was a great win,” said Dun­leavy. “We lead our team and are hop­ing we play well to­gether. We are con­nect­ing. Our scor­ing has been spread out.”

Phoenixville goalies Tyler Hall and Malia Ed­ney were pep­pered with shot at­tempts. Hall fin­ished with three saves while Ed­ney had one save. The War­riors’ Emily Franco posted the shutout with two saves. Hen­der­son dom­i­nated in cor­ners, 18-3.

De­spite the set­back, Ken­twell looked on the bright side for the 2016 sea­son and for what po­ten­tially lies ahead for the Phan­toms.

“I think it’s been a very good sea­son by them,” said Ken­twell. “Aside from to­day’s game, you have to look at our pro­gram af­ter los­ing 15 se­niors. We have so many var­sity play­ers who are fresh­men and sopho­mores. Ninety per­cent of the team has other sports as their first sport. So to get to where we got to is quite amaz­ing.”

“Since day one, when we had noth­ing, and to see where we are to­day, we have def­i­nitely im­proved im­mensely,” said Phoenixville se­nior Katie Sul­li­van. “I am happy to have played on the team for four years.”

“We were not ex­pect­ing to do much as a team,” said Phoenixville se­nior Erica Sposato. “I see how much bet­ter we got. I am proud of my ca­reer.”

O’Don­nell talked about her War­riors.

“They play re­ally well to­gether as a team,” she said. “It’s a good group of girls. It is a real good group of girls.”

Hen­der­son’s only losses came against the top-rated teams among the big schools in Class AAA. The War­riors fell to Con­estoga in over­time; dropped a one-goal game to Down­ing­town West; and fell to Unionville, 4-1.

NOTES >> Hen­der­son got some strong field play from Peighton Be­ment, Ming Do­herty, Made­lyn Reuther, Jor­dan Bauer and Amy Hew­son . ... Phoenixville got steals from Cora Brown and Gabby Her­schell as well as a block from Re­becca Lewis. ... Other good Phan­tom de­fen­sive work came from Sophia Bierly and, Kyra Traf­ford while Ameerah Green, Kather­ine Baker, Sydney Alling and Cas­sidy Stevens helped with pos­ses­sion and pen­e­tra­tion down­field . ... Hen­der­son’s ros­ter is topheavy with ju­niors (15) and also in­cludes three se­niors and two fresh­men with no sopho­mores.

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