Perk Valley blanks Spring-Ford to earn another strong road win and maintain unbeaten start
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.”
Perkiomen Valley’s Gabby Martina (3) sends one toward goal during the first half of Wednesday’s game.
Perkiomen Valley’s Kelly Baitinger (8) and Spring-Ford’s Ariana Magazzolo give chase to a loose ball during Wednesday’s game.