Perk Val­ley blanks Spring-Ford to earn an­other strong road win and main­tain un­beaten start

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

ROYERSFORD » Three weeks in, and the Perkiomen Val­ley field hockey team has al­ready been through the ringer this fall.

Al­ready with im­pres­sive road wins over some of the top teams in the Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence, the Vik­ings added an­other to their list Wed­nes­day night — top­ping crosstown ri­val Spring-Ford 1-0 to con­tinue their un­beaten start.

“We’ve beat the three main con­tenders in our di­vi­sion now, all at their place,” re­it­er­ated Perk Val­ley head coach Erik En­ters. “Owen J. in over­time, Methac­ton by one goal. We’re sur­viv­ing th­ese tough games, and that’s what will make us stronger.”

The Vik­ings (5-0 PAC Lib­erty Di­vi­sion, 8-0 over­all) looked plenty strong in Wed­nes­day night’s per­for­mance, hold­ing their hosts with­out a shot on goal on the way to their fifth straight shutout win. It was the first time all sea­son that SpringFord (3-3 PAC Lib­erty, 5-2-1 over­all) was held with­out a goal.

Gabby Martina’s score mid­way through the open­ing half proved the dif­fer­ence, the se­nior for­ward cor­ralling her own re­bound in front of the cage be­fore break­ing through and slip­ping one be­tween the keeper and the right post be­fore be­ing flocked by her team­mates in cel­e­bra­tion.

“That was in­tense,” re­called Martina with a bright smile. “I took my shot and then the ball came back out again. So when I re­al­ized that no­body was break­ing for the ball, I went through, went base­line. Once I rolled back in and the keeper fol­lowed me, I saw the lit­tle slit to­ward post.”

That small open­ing was all she needed as Martina, the team’s lead­ing re­turn­ing scorer, fin­ished a re­ver­sal and upped her goal to­tal to six on the sea­son.

Perk Val­ley’s de­fense clogged ev­ery pass­ing lane and made noth­ing easy for SpringFord through­out the night, as ev­i­denced by the Rams be­ing held with­out a penalty cor­ner well into the sec­ond half. By the end, the Vik­ings held a 15-5 ad­van­tage in cor­ners.

Although it’s still early in the sea­son, Martina has goals of lead­ing her team back to a place she had only been her fresh­man sea­son — the PAC play­offs.

“I re­mem­ber my fresh­man year, I had great lead­ers like Kelsey Giese and Laura Shel­ton,” re­called Martina of the se­niors on the 2015 team. “They led our whole team to PACs and dis­tricts. Me and my other cap­tain Bryn (Mar­cav­age), we’re ex­cited to have such a skilled team and be able to lead them on.

“Our goal this year is to get back to PACs. That and dis­tricts. I think we have a re­ally good chance of mak­ing a deep run this sea­son.”

The Vik­ings will look to con­tinue their un­beaten run with a cross-di­vi­sional matchup against Up­per Me­rion on Fri­day night.

Amid per­haps their most gru­el­ing stretch of the sea­son, Spring-Ford head coach Jen­nie An­der­son says the team is work­ing on putting it all to­gether.

“We worked on a cou­ple things yes­ter­day that we didn’t do on Mon­day night,” she said ref­er­enc­ing Mon­day’s 4-1 loss against Owen J. Roberts. “We’ve got some things we need to fix, for sure. In a game like this, we’ve got to score. We had our op­por­tu­ni­ties, but the ball didn’t bounce our way.”

The Rams will look to bounce back with a di­vi­sional cross­over game against Up­per Perkiomen on Fri­day night be­fore hit­ting the road for a re­match against Perk Val­ley next Tues­day.

Spring-Ford goal keeper Ash­ley Della Guardia came away with four saves on the night.

“We re­ally preach the team as­pect,” added An­der­son. “We al­ways say that we can’t watch just one per­son do it. Even though we didn’t score, I think that’s why we played so well tonight — we were work­ing with each other and weren’t re­ly­ing on one per­son.”

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Perkiomen Val­ley’s Gabby Martina (3) sends one to­ward goal dur­ing the first half of Wed­nes­day’s game.

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Perkiomen Val­ley’s Kelly Baitinger (8) and Spring-Ford’s Ari­ana Magaz­zolo give chase to a loose ball dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s game.

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