Bears falls in PAC fi­nal to OJR

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

FAIRVIEW VIL­LAGE » The Owen J. Roberts girls lacrosse team knows plenty about over­com­ing ob­sta­cles.

Four years ago, the pro­gram was in a state of frenzy in search of a head coach just be­fore the sea­son kicked off.

Two years later, the pro­gram had to deal with the grad­u­a­tion of three star play­ers, in­clud­ing its two lead­ing scor­ers.

And this spring, the Wild­cats were forced to change di­rec­tion late in the year when head coach Amanda Kammes de­parted for a new job in Chicago mid­sea­son.

Yet some­how, some way, they have per­se­vered.

So when Thurs­day’s Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence fi­nal be­came a two-day af­fair — post­poned mid­way through due to light­ning on Thurs­day night — the Wild­cats were once again up to the task. And it all paid off Fri­day night back at Methac­ton.

Owen J. Roberts claimed its fourth straight PAC cham­pi­onship Fri­day night, beat­ing Boy­er­town 8-6 after sopho­more mid­fielder Han­nah De­la­haye scored the game’s fi­nal two goals to close it out.

“Ev­ery year has been different for us, that’s for sure,” said OJR se­nior de­fender Kylie Cahill, a four-year starter. “Different team, different at­mos­phere — but in some sense, it’s been all the same. We’re a team. We stick to­gether, we work to­gether, we go hard for each other.”

With a thun­der­storm threat­en­ing to hit the area all through­out Thurs­day night’s game, both teams were forced to pack up and head home with OJR lead­ing 6-5 with 21:18 re­main­ing in the sec­ond half.

That 30-minute bus ride, ex­plained Cahill, proved to be more im­por­tant than any­one could have imag­ined.

“It was crazy. At first, peo­ple on our bus were an­gry, say­ing ‘We could have played in the light­ning!’” she said. “But I think it was good for us. In the end, we had time to calm our­selves down for the night and to think about all the things we did well in that first half and things we needed to work on.

“I think we set­tled all of that when we first stepped off the bus to­day.”

Nearly 23 hours after the game was ini­tially put into a weather de­lay, the Wild­cats looked thun­der­struck when the game started back up on Fri­day.

Boy­er­town se­cured the open­ing draw, then worked the ball me­thod­i­cally around the pitch be­fore Syd­ney Fox capped a four-minute pos­ses­sion with a score off a feed from Hay­den Cor­co­ran to even it up at 6-6 with 17:34 re­main­ing.

A cou­ple min­utes later, De­la­haye got the ball in the Boy­er­town crease, drew a foul call and was awarded an 8-meter. Her shot — a dart headed for the top of the net off the whis­tle — was stuffed by Bears’ keeper Sarah Did­get to keep the game tied.

“We didn’t panic,” said Cahill. “Our coaches have taught us that there will be goals scored for us and goals scored against us. We just have to keep our com­po­sure and stick to­gether.”

That com­po­sure proved the dif­fer­ence.

With about seven min­utes to go, the OJR de­fense worked a turnover on the Boy­er­town end, then got the ball out to mid­field. From there, the Wild­cats’ of­fense got set be­fore De­la­haye fin­ished one from the right side of the net on a pass from Lilly Kull to give OJR a 7-6 lead with 6:57 left.

“We got the ball, slowed it down through the ‘X’ and worked it around a little bit,” re­called De­la­haye, a trans­fer from The Hill School. “We wanted to get a play, get an open cut and a good look at the net.

“When the ball was com­ing to me, I was think­ing ‘We’re gonna put this in and we’re gonna fin­ish this.’ We had to fin­ish it as a team.”

De­la­haye then put the game out of reach with an­other score nearly five min­utes later, send­ing the OJR play­ers and faith­ful into an up­roar louder than any thun­der that could have hit the area.

Four PAC cham­pi­onships in four years.

This year’s crop of se­niors at OJR find them­selves in a rare class. The Wild­cat se­niors only know vic­tory in the league, with a whop­ping 44-2 reg­u­lar sea­son record against con­fer­ence op­po­nents the past four years.

And on Fri­day night, they found them­selves up against Boy­er­town, a sto­ried pro­gram that had at one time run the dy­nasty in the league for over a decade.

“Be­fore we got here, it had al­ways been Boy­er­town, Boy­er­town ev­ery year,” said Cahill. “But we changed that. We knew that there was no way we could give this up.”

*** Se­nior at­tack Kelsey Kil­gal­lon net­ted a hat trick — which in­cluded her 100th ca­reer goal on the game’s open­ing pos­ses­sion Thurs­day — while De­la­haye also added three goals over the course of the two-day af­fair. Ju­nior midfielders Sophia Mur­ray and Eloise Ge­bert each added a goal while sopho­more at­tack Maddi Koury added an as­sist.

Fox scored three times for Boy­er­town, in­clud­ing a pair late in the first half amid a key push from the Bears after trail­ing 5-2. Amanda Di­achyn­sky, Han­nah Mitchell and Kylie Webb each had scores for Boy­er­town.

Owen J. Roberts’ Danika Swech car­ries the ball as Boy­er­town’s Kristi Kada and Kylie Webb de­fend dur­ing the PAC girls lacrosse cham­pi­onship Thurs­day at Methac­ton. (Austin Hert­zog - Dig­i­tal First Me­dia)

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