Tal­ent pool pro­pels Lady Ea­gles to ti­tle game

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Vince Par­avec­chia

It was build­ing to a year like this, one which al­most didn’t even hap­pen.

Con­well-Egan Catholic (CEC) has been im­prov­ing since this year’s group of eight se­niors ar­rived at the school four years ago. Yet, the Lady Ea­gles’ record may not have shown it dur­ing this cam­paign, when for the fourth time in their ca­reers, the se­niors fell in the Philadel­phia Catholic LHDguH (3CL) quDUWHUfinDO round, wind­ing up with just a 7-6-1 record to that point.

What fol­lowed, though, was the cul­mi­na­tion of all the ef­forts of im­prov­ing in prac­tices and mak­ing it shRw Rn WhH fiHOG. 7hDW quDOity is some­thing se­nior and team co-cap­tain Sum­mer 7DyORU DGPLUHs PRsW DERuW coach Andy Adamiec’s style, and it proved to work to fruition this month.

Be­hind solid de­fense, goal­tend­ing and its own re­siliency, the Lady Ea­gles FDughW fiUH DW WhH ULghW WLPH. 7hH UH­suOW wDs D UDOOy WR earn a District 12 Class A cham­pi­onship and state play­off berth, which Egan took ad­van­tage of by win­ning three straight con­tests WR EHFRPH WhH fiUsW WHDP Ln school his­tory, in any sport, to reach a state cham­pi­onship game.

“We en­joyed be­ing there, and as we kept win­ning, we didn’t want to stop,” said 7DyORU, whR sDLG WhLs yHDU’s se­niors also tried to have a more laid-back men­tal­ity as team lead­ers than in sea­son’s past.

“Since I started there, I think peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mated us,” she con­tin­ued. “I think peo­ple don’t see us as a threat, but we really proved our­selves this year.”

7hH (DgOHs GLG sR wLWh D balanced group of play­ers, of which 11 scored at least one goal on the sea­son and 13 reg­is­tered a point. Of WhH sHnLRUs, 7DyORU wDs WhH lead­ing points-earner, as her six goals and 11 as­sists gave her a team-high 17 points. One of her goals wound up be­ing the game win­ner in CEC’s 2-1 tri­umph over Christo­pher Dock in the sWDWH sHPLfinDOs 1RY. 13, sHW up by striker Maddy Michaels.

7hH FORsHsW DnyRnH FDPH to her as­sist to­tal was mid­fiHOGHU/sWULkHU 0LFhHOOH LDtron­ica, who had six as­sists to go with eight goals, the lat­ter of which tied her with 7DyORU’s sLsWHU, 2OLYLD, IRU the team lead.

As La­tron­ica and Olivia helped prove, the tal­ent pool went far be­yond the se­niors. Un­der­class­men played a huge role in the (DgOHs’ Uun WR WhH finDOs, Ds La­tron­ica, a ju­nior, scored three of CEC’s eight state play­off goals. In­cluded in that achieve­ment was the game-win­ner in a 2-1 up­sHW RI 7uOSHhRFkHn Ln WhH quDUWHUfinDOs, whLFh wDs sHW uS Ey sHnLRU PLG­fiHOGHU/GHfender Alyssa Eltz (3 goals and 2 as­sists in 2012) to break a 1-1 tie with un­der 15 min­utes to go. La­tron­ica also net­ted in a pair in C(C’s fiUsW-URunG wLn RYHU Min­ersville.

Other con­trib­u­tors in­cluded ju­niors Grace Macnamara (3 goals, 1 as­sist), Erica Fork­tus (1 goal, 4 as­sists) and sopho­more Maddy Michaels (4 goals, 3 as­sists).

“To get them to be­lieve they could win th­ese games and be­lieve, that was the chal­lenge for me,” said Adamiec, who has been this group’s coach all four sea­sons and with the school’s pro­grams since 2000. The EDJOes fiQisheG 11-7-1 oQ the year. “Af­ter four years, I knew we had tal­ent.”

“I knew I had a good team. I just needed them to play a lit­tle bet­ter,” he con­tin­ued. “With our record be­ing 8-6 go­ing into states, I think some of the teams took us lightly.”

If oth­ers squads did, they paid dearly for it. Tulpe­hocken, for in­stance, was the District 3 cham­pion and 22-1-1 JoiQJ iQWo iWs coQWesW with Egan. Yet, af­ter CEC had beaten Min­ersville four days ear­lier, Adamiec no­ticed a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude with his team. The re­sult was a group de­ter­mined to push for­ward, which it kept do­ing by knock­ing off three district cham­pi­ons along the way.

“I think it was fun becDuse iW wDs Py fiUsW yeDU, and we got to go this far,” said Olivia Tay­lor, a fresh­man striker. “All the se­niors helped us.”

“I looked up to them and I wanted to start play­ing like them,” she added.

Olivia was one of four fresh­men reg­u­lars and seven over­all on the var­sity ros­ter. They in­cluded BaiOey BUowQ (1 Ds­sisW), EPPi EOWz (1 JoDO) DQG 0DJJie Irvin, a goalie who had a shuWouW wiQ whiOe fiOOiQJ in for nor­mal starter Becky McAl­lis­ter. A se­nior, McAl­lis­ter played part of the year WhUouJh D EUokeQ iQGex fiQger she suf­fered dur­ing a prac­tice, and wound up with a solid sea­son that in­cluded ei­JhW sDYes iQ Whe sWDWe fiQDO loss to Greens­burg Cen­tral Catholic.

“You can’t play soc­cer with­out goal­keeper. Ba­si­cally if it wasn’t for her do­ing what she did and be­ing uQseO­fish DQG JoiQJ iQ JoDO, I don’t think we would have made it out of district,” said Adamiec of McAl­lis­ter, a coQYeUWeG PiG­fieOGeU IUoP 2011, who hDG 4 shuWouWs to go with 3 goals and two as­sists.

,UYiQ fiJuUes Wo keeS the keep­ing strong as a sopho­more, but there will Ee YoiGs Wo fiOO wi­WhouW Sum­mer Tay­lor, who has com­mit­ted to play at East Strouds­burg Univer­sity, and co-cDSWDiQs -DQeW 3eWUiQo (4 Jo­DOs), LiQGsDy BUiJJs (2 Jo­DOs) DQG .eOOi 3ieOO. YeW, sev­eral ju­nior var­sity play­ers should be able to move up and help keep the mo­men­tum go­ing.

“I think we’re leav­ing be­hind a good legacy,” said Sum­mer. “This is our last year; we made a state­ment.”

It couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time, ei­ther. The talk last year at sea­son’s end was WhDW Whe EDJOes’ TuDUWeU­fiQDO set­back could have been the last game in school his­tory, which could have led to sev­eral po­ten­tial in­com­ing play­ers choos­ing an­other school.

“When Egan said it was go­ing to close, I was think­ing, ‘I’m go­ing to (AUchEishoS) 5yDQ HiJh School,’” re­called Olivia.

As it turned out, though, CEC won an ap­peal and re­mained open, and a strong in­com­ing class made its mark.

“I like the school that I’m at and I like the team. I’m happy that I went to Egan,” Olivia con­tin­ued.

“When we heard our school was clos­ing, it was SUoEDEOy Whe woUsW GDy (DW) Con­well-Egan,” Sum­mer also said. “We wanted peo­ple to know not to close us.”

“We might be lit­tle, but we still have heart,” she added. “I think that since we made it this far, more peo­ple are go­ing to come to our school and keep it open.”

That has proven to be true at least for the soc­cer pro­gram, which had a con­tin­gency of fans at Coun­cil 5ock NoUWh HiJh 6chooO for the Christo­pher Dock sePi­fiQDO. FuUWheU, GuUiQJ D re­cent open house for po­ten­tial in­com­ing fresh­men, Sum­mer said about 50 girls signed a list ex­press­ing in­ter­est in play­ing for the Ea­gles.

Photo by Steve Sherman

Con­well-Egan se­nior Kelly goes for a 50-50 ball.


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