AnneMarie Anderson’s nearly decade-long tenure as head coach.
But if the Whippets had any cobwebs to clean out, it didn’t show, as the number three seed notched five goals in the first half, and rode the lead to the finish line to advance to the quarterfinals with a 5-1 victory on a chilly Wednesday afternoon at Kottmeyer Stadium.
“We all remember what it felt like last year,” said West senior Jenna Garber, who was credited with a pair of goals. “And we knew from playing them early that Oxford has some very good players that could score. So it was big for us to get
that first goal and a big lead early.”
The Whippets will go on for a re-match in the quarterfinals against No. 6 Central Bucks East, a 2-1 winner over Owen J. Roberts.
West will be looking for revenge come Friday. The Patriots were 3-2 overtime winners in the first game of the season. The victor will clinch a berth in the PIAA Tournament.
“We’ll be ready,” said West coach Jeff Riccardo. “We just have to play the way we’re capable.”
Just over six minutes in, West was awarded a penalty corner. Claudia Jasczak got the ball at the top of the circle, and put a pass on the stick of Garber, who banged off the back of the cage for a 1-0 advantage.
Oxford battled right back, and forced a pair of Ciana Riccardo of Downingtown West brings the ball upfield as Oxford’s Emily Queensbury defends during Wednesday’s District 1 Class AAA second-round field hockey contest. corners of their own just minutes later. But, goalie Caitlyn Coker and her defensive teammates kept the Hornets out of the cage, like they have for much of the season.
“Caitlyn made some nice saves for us in the first half, and if any of those gets in, it might have been a different game,” said Riccardo. “We’ve been really solid defensively all year. Our backs have been very solid.”
Before the end of the first
half, the Whippets added four more goals, one each from Laine Garber, Taylor Orsi and Tatum Johnson, and a second one from Jenna Garber.
“We played a good game, but not our best game,” said Riccardo. “This is a good team, and we’re the three seed for a reason. I thought we made our passes and played well. We do the things we’re capable, we’re going to beat a lot of teams. If we do those things all the time and not 50-60 percent of the time like today, we’ll go far.”
Oxford finally got on the board with about 20 minutes to play, when Stanfordbound Sarah Johnson broke through with a goal.
“It’s all been a great experience,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to have it end like this, but I wouldn’t have wanted
to be with any other team or with any other girls. We got better and improved every year, and I’ll be looking for the girls coming back to do even better than we did.”
Johnson, and all of her fellow seniors, are leaving big shoes to fill.
“We went from not qualifying, to getting one district game, this year we got a win, and next year we push for three or more games,” added Anderson. “I can’t say enough about Sarah and all the seniors. There are going to be some big shoes to fill, but we’ll be back and we’ll try our best to keep improving.”