Sabres claim ESIAC championship
WESTOVER — Facing a skilled 6-foot-plus goalie made scoring a difficult challenge for the Sabres in last Friday afternoon’s Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship game at the Somerset County Centralized Athletic Facility.
But with time running out in overtime, Saints Peter and Paul High’s Helena Covey found a way to do it. From the right wing, she arced an acute-angled shot from about 20 yards away over the head of Worcester Prep’s goalie Gracie Gardner, under the crossbar, and into the far side of the net, lifting the Sabres girls’ soccer team to a 2-1 victory.
“I was on the far right. I just saw a space open up and I just shot because I knew time was getting down,” Covey said. “I thought if I aimed far, and just got it right over top of her, I could get it past her height.”
Senior forward Caroline Murphy was the first to meet the joyous Covey with a leaping embrace and the rest of the Sabres piled on the love as they celebrated a thrilling end to a successful season.
SSPP earned both the ESIAC regular-season championship and the postseason title, finishing 11-2 under head coach Jess Kile.
The Sabres sent 11 shots on goal in the first half and took a 1-0 lead late in the half on a goal by Murphy.
“This past week we’ve been a little iffy on the possession, getting a little nervous for today, so we really wanted to focus on that today,” Murphy said. “That particular run
our possession was just really good. Sarah [Rust], number 22, another captain, shot on frame and I just got the rebound. I was at the right place at the right time.”
Led by ESIAC player of the year, junior Delaney Ambercrombie, and senior Kaylee Dixon, the Mallards tested Sabres goalie Sophia Marciniak with nine shots on goal in the first half, but couldn’t get one past her.
That changed early in the second half when Messa Cammack scored with a shot much like Covey’s game-winner. She sent an arcing shot from 18 yards out that sailed under the crossbar and into the left side of the net to tie the game at 1-1. But that ended the Mallards’ scoring.
SSPP controlled most of the action the remainder of regulation, but Gardner was there to stop the ball with saves or keepers on every scoring attempt. The Sabres took 10 shots on goal in the second half compared to six for the Mallards. Heather Kyle, Elena Esper, Lilly Bishop, Cat Christian, and Rust placed shots on goal for SSPP in the second half. Caroline Shilling had sent a shot on goal in the first half.
The only shot on goal in overtime was Covey’s gamewinner.
“It was beautiful,” said Kile about the game-winning goal. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better, and I don’t ask for anything more from her. I’ve been telling her to do it all season and she did it, and it worked.”
“I really just wanted to get it for my seniors,” Covey said. “They won it their freshmen year and I thought it would be a really cool to send them out and get the win.”
Said Murphy: “The last time we won [the ESIAC championship game] was kind of deja-vu because it was the exact same way — overtime, same exact shot, same exact place, same exact time. I was in the exact same spot, watched the ball fall in both times. So, this is surreal.”
Leading the defense for SSPP were Jill Koski, Karis Ward, and Amy Nguyen. Christian and Kristin Towers helped secure the midfield.
“I’m so proud of them,” Kile said. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked all season. Just wow! We started out nervous, excited, but overall they shook off their nerves and they settled down and played like the team they knew how to be.”
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Sts. Peter and Paul High’s Caroline Murphy leaps onto Helena Covey to begin the celebration after the Sabres defeated Worcester Prep, 2-1, in overtime Friday afternoon in Westover.
The Saints Peter and Paul High School field hockey team with their ESIAC championship trophies Friday afternoon at the Somerset County Centralized Athletic Complex in Westover. They won the league’s regular-season and postseason championships.
Sts. Peter and Paul High’s Helena Covey (8) reacts after she scored the game-winning goal in overtime Friday afternoon against Worcester Prep in the ESIAC championship game. Alongside her is Cat Christian (20) and advancing to meet her is Caroline...
Saints Peter and Paul’s Jill Koski (3) passes as a crowd of Herons close in during last Wednesday’s ESIAC semifinal.
Sts. Peter and Paul High’s Caroline Murphy (12) battles with Worcester Prep’s Quinn McGolgan along the sideline during the first half Friday afternoon in Westover.