Surg­ing Phan­toms blank PJP

Phoenixville keeps in PAC play­off hunt with 6-0 win

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

As the Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s reg­u­lar sea­son hits the home stretch, ev­ery game and ev­ery point be­comes that much more im­por­tant.

No need to re­mind Phoenixville head coach Claire Em­plit and her field hockey team.

The Phan­toms put to­gether a dom­i­nant ef­fort over vis­it­ing Pope John Paul II on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon to keep them­selves in the hunt of the PAC Fi­nal Four play­offs by de­feat­ing the Golden Pan­thers, 6-0.

“We’re start­ing to trust each other and see­ing the en­tire field a lot bet­ter than we did at the start of the sea­son,” said Em­plit. “We’re us­ing the out­side of the field and our base­line, then cross­ing it into the goal. That’s some­thing we’ve been work­ing on all sea­son.”

Per­fect tim­ing for the pieces to start com­ing to­gether, right coach?

“It’s been re­ally good to see their pro­gres­sion,” she

added.

With the win, Phoenixville (8-6 over­all) moves to 5-2 in the PAC’s Fron­tier Di­vi­sion and 6-4 against PAC op­po­nents. The re­sult puts themwithin el­bow space of Lib­erty Di­vi­sion foes Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford as all three teams will look to make a fi­nal push for the re­main­ing two play­off spots. Un­der the new play­off for­mat, one leader will be se­lected from each di­vi­sion, fol­lowed by the next two teams with the best records re­gard­less of di­vi­sion.

The loss drops PJP (4-8 over­all) to 4-3 against Fron-

tier op­po­nents and 4-6 against PAC op­po­nents.

Ju­nior for­ward Ameerah Green fin­ished with a pair of goals, in­clud­ing the game’s open­ing goal just over 90 sec­onds in­with a feed fromAubrie Breis­blatt. Gabby Herschell scored on a text­book lift shot dur­ing the Phan­toms’ first cor­ner try less than twomin­utes later.

From there, Phoenixville was off and run­ning

“I usu­ally end up tak­ing most of our cor­ner shots,” said Herschell, who serves as the main fa­cil­i­ta­tor dur­ing the Phan­toms’ of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion. “I try to dis­trib­ute it to the for­wards when

we have the ball. We’re con­stantly push­ing the of­fense each game.”

“We’ve been work­ing well as a team, get­ting the ball up the field,” said Green. “All of our play­ers have been spread­ing out and us­ing the en­tire field. That’s open­ing things up for our of­fense.”

Breis­blatt, Herschell and Cas­sidy Stevens each fin­ished with a goal and an as­sist be­fore CameronDaisy scored off a feed from Bri­anna Bat­tista with 14 min­utes left to close out the scor­ing.

Phoenixville was in to­tal con­trol through­out, rack­ing up 18 cor­ner tries while

lim­it­ing PJP to just three for the game. The Golden Pan­thers didn’t get the ball into the scor­ing cir­cle un­til the 11th minute, and from there never gen­er­ated any sub­stan­tial of­fense. The Phan­toms also out-shot the Golden Pan­thers 14-0, keep­ing Tyler Hall’s job pretty com­fort­able in goal as she picked up her sixth shutout of the sea­son.

“Not our best to­day,” said first-year PJP head coach Meghan Ku­gler, “but we’re com­ing along. Our team has been will­ing to learn to­gether all sea­son, so it’s been up and down so far.”

PJP keeper Mag­gie Sul-

li­van was a strong point in the cage where she fin­ished with nine saves, in­clud­ing a run of three dur­ing Phoenixville’s late of­fen­sive press at the end of the first half.

As the PAC play­offs loom al­most two weeks away, Em­plit and the Phan­toms don’t plan to change any­thing about their ap­proach to the fi­nal stretch of the sea­son.

“One game at a time,” she said. “We don’t like to worry about those kind of things — I want to get them­work­ing on things that we need to work on each game. We’ll worry about PACs when we get there.”

GREEN

HERSCHELL

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