OT game-win­ner lifts Con­estoga past Down­ing­town West

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bill Ru­dick bru­dick55@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @bru­dick55 on Twit­ter

TREDYFFRIN » Mered­ith Ross may have in­ad­ver­tently dis­cov­ered the key to crack­ing the tough Down­ing­town West de­fense — take shots from lousy an­gles and hope they go in.

For the sec­ond time this year, Ross’ Pi­o­neer squad found them­selves in over­time with the Whip­pets. Ear­lier in the year, the Michi­gan State re­cruit slipped in the game-win­ner from the left side of the cir­cle. Tues­day night in the District 1 3A semi­fi­nal, Ross let loose with a back­handed shot from the right side of the cir­cle and at an ab­surd an­gle, yet some­how the ball found its way home, and No. 2 Con­estoga earned a slot in the District 1 cham­pi­onship game.

The Pioneers will square off against No. 5 Cen­tral Bucks West, a 4-3 up­set win­ner in dou­bleover­time over top-seeded Union-

ville. Game time is set for Satur­day at 5:30 at Methac­ton High School.

“I don’t know how it got in,” ad­mit­ted Ross. “I was re­mem­ber­ing how hor­ri­ble an an­gle it was last time so I thought I should shoot and hope it goes in. I couldn’t be­lieve it, but it worked.”

West got on the board first. With just over eight min­utes elapsed in the first half, the No. 3 Whip­pets brought the ball into a crowd in front of the cage. Ta­tum John­son let loose with a shot, but was stuffed by Con­estoga goalie Ali Show­ers. But an alert Clau­dia Jaszczak grabbed it and slammed it off the back of the cage for a 1-0 Whip­pets lead.

“That played a lot on my mind when they scored that early goal, be­cause Down­ing­town West has such a great de­fen­sive unit,” said Pioneers coach Me­gan Smyth. “That’s prob­a­bly their big­gest strength. But I knew th­ese girls could do it. Time was tick­ing away though.”

Nine min­utes into the sec­ond half, the Pioneers were awarded a corner, and got the ball to Char­lotte DeVries, who tried to go top shelf with a bul­let of a shot, but West’s Cait­lyn Coker bat­ted it away to pre­serve the Whip­pet lead.

The game was in its fi­nal ten min­utes when Con­estoga forced an­other corner, once again putting it on the stick of DeVries. This time, though, DeVries’ shot was true, ty­ing the game at 1-1 with 9:42 to play.

“That’s been our go-to corner all year,” said DeVries. “I usu­ally try to shoot off my fore­hand, but this time they over­com­mit­ted, so I just pulled it left. I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing it do go in, but it did. I’m just so ex­cited to be get­ting to a district fi­nal.” Over­time is get­ting to be a habit when th­ese two teams play. The last three matchups have re­sulted in ex­tra time.

“This is just two good teams that al­ways seem to go over­time,” said West coach Jeff Ric­cardo. “I thought we played well, and we played hard. This was a great game. But we’re go­ing to the state tour­na­ment, and I think we’ll be in a good po­si­tion. We’ve played about as tough a sched­ule as you can get. (Coach) Liz Mor­row does a great job get­ting us the kind of games that pre­pare us for this time of the sea­son.” The Whip­pets will play at Unionville Fri­day in the game for third and fourth places in District 1.

Con­estoga moves on to a district ti­tle game for the first time in Smyth’s ten­ure as head coach, af­ter sev­eral years of near misses.

“I am so ex­cited, es­pe­cially with this be­ing my se­nior year,” said Ross. “We’ve never got­ten there while any of us have been here.”

BILL RU­DICK — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga cel­e­brates the over­time game-win­ner Tues­day night as Down­ing­town West walks off the field.

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