Whip­pets race past O’Hara in 2nd half

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Harry Chaykun For Dig­i­tal First Media

PHILADEL­PHIA >> The Down­ing­town West play­ers had good mem­o­ries when the Car­di­nal O’Hara team was men­tioned as the Whip­pets’ first-round op­po­nent in the PIAA Class 3A field hockey tour­na­ment.

Ju­nior mid­fielder Romea Ric­cardo knew more than many of her team­mates what it would be like to face the Lions and their stand­out mid­fielder, Makayla Gallen, for a sec­ond time this sea­son.

“We’ve been (club) team­mates with WC Ea­gles,” Ric­cardo said. “I knew what a great player she is and how we had to know where she was all the time when we were play­ing against her.”

Ric­cardo spent some time break­ing up O’Hara penalty cor­ners, on which Gallen can be ex­tremely dan­ger­ous, and also found time to score a pair of goals in the sec­ond half as Down­ing­town West, the fourth seed from Dis­trict 1, knocked off the Dis­trict 12 cham­pion Lions, 5-1, in a state tour­na­ment opener at Ben­jamin L. John­ston Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Ger­man­town Wed­nes­day night.

The Whip­pets (17-5) were seek­ing to re­verse their 2-1 loss to O’Hara (202) last month in a game in which Gallen scored the win­ning goal on a penalty stroke.

“Some of the se­niors on this team were fresh­men on the last team we had that made states,” West coach Liz Mor­row said. “And that team lost in the first round at Em­maus.

“To­day we were able to bounce back from our two (dis­trict play­off) losses last week and find the back of the cage bet­ter than the last time we played (Car­di­nal O’Hara). Some of that

was be­cause of our penalty cor­ners. We haven’t been able to do as much as we wanted on our cor­ners re­cently.”

Sopho­more for­ward Ju­lianna Smyth was able to tip in a penalty cor­ner drive by Ric­cardo in the 22nd minute for the only goal of the first half, in which West was awarded seven cor­ners to four for O’Hara.

“We knew this would be a tough game and goals might not come that easy,” said Smyth, who has com­mit­ted to play field hockey at Wake For­est. “We all wanted to make sure we got a win at states, and now we can think about go­ing to prac­tice for the next three days and play­ing an­other game.”

Fresh­man Ciana Ric­cardo

“We knew this would be a tough game and goals might not come that easy. We all wanted to make sure we got a win at states, and now we can think about go­ing to prac­tice for the next three days and play­ing an­other game.” — Down­ing­town West’s Ju­lianna Smyth

dou­bled West’s lead on the Whip­pets’ first penalty cor­ner of the sec­ond half, then Smyth fin­ished a play ini­ti­ated by ju­nior Tay­lor Orsi less than five min­utes later.

Car­di­nal O’Hara got its only goal on a penalty cor­ner, with Han­nah Ni­hill knock­ing the ball into the cage off a feed from Gallen with just un­der 18 min­utes to play.

Four min­utes later, it was Romea Ric­cardo, who will play at the Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina, com­plet­ing a cor­ner play with her first goal. Three min­utes af­ter that score she fired in a penalty stroke to put the fin­ish­ing touches on West’s win.

“We never gave up,” said Gallen, who is headed to the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia. “Even in the last five min­utes, when we knew what the re­sult was go­ing to be, we never gave up.

“We knew they would do what they could to try to stop me. But I’m not the only player on this team. We had 11 good play­ers on the field. We knew we’d be with­out (in­jured de­fender Liz Tosto), so we wanted to try to do it for her to­day.”

O’Hara coach Marie Mur­phy had a tough time ad­dress­ing her play­ers for the last time fol­low­ing the game.

“They were a won­der­ful group of girls,” Mur­phy said. “And I was blessed and priv­i­leged to have had the chance to be with them through­out (the sea­son).

“The pace of this game just wasn’t what we wanted

ANNE NEBORAK — DIG­I­TAL FIRST MEDIA

Down­ing­town West play­ers are all smiles af­ter beat­ing Car­di­nal O’Hara Tues­day night.

ANNE NEBORAK — DIG­I­TAL FIRST MEDIA

Down­ing­town West Francesca Star­ing runs for the ball.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.