Phan­toms fall to OJR

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

RED HILL >> The se­niors on Owen J. Roberts’ field hockey team know the dif­fer­ence be­tween walk­ing off the field as cham­pi­ons and de­part­ing as run­ner­sup.

A sea­son af­ter fall­ing short in its quest for a three-peat, Owen J. Roberts se­cured a sixth straight trip to the Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onship with a 6-0 win over Phoenixville on Tues­day night at Up­per Perkiomen’s In­dian Sta­dium.

“Our se­nior class came out ready and we got the rest of the team to come with us,” said OJR se­nior de­fender Natalie Fuertsch. “We wanted to make sure we came out strong, played well and fin­ished.”

With the win, the Wild­cats (8-2 PAC Lib­erty Di­vi­sion; 17-2 over­all) ad­vance to face top-seeded and un­beaten Perkiomen Val­ley — a 3-2 win­ner over Up­per Perkiomen dur­ing Tues­day night’s other semi­fi­nal — in the cham­pi­onship game back at Up­per Perkiomen on Thurs­day night at 7 p.m.

Hav­ing faced Phoenixville (9-1 PAC Fron­tier; 14-4-1 over­all) in a di­vi­sional cross­over game ear­lier in the sea­son, sopho­more Raina Smolij and her team­mates had a good idea of what they were matched up against Tues­day.

“We knew we needed to come out hard and fast,” said Smolij. “They’re a fast team, they have a lot of re­ally quick peo­ple all over the field. So we knew we needed to pass the ball well and keep pos­ses­sion through­out the game.”

Just over three min­utes into the game, se­nior Eloise Ge­bert mis­di­rected a shot off the stick of Smolij and into the back of the cage for the game’s open­ing score. Then eight min­utes later, Fuertsch cor­ralled the in­sert from sopho­more Jenna Kirby at the top of the cir­cle and sent a mis­sile past the keeper to give the Wild­cats a quick 2-0 lead.

“I saw some open space, so I thought to my­self, ‘I’m gonna fin­ish this,’” re­called Fuertsch of her goal. “That was all I re­ally wanted to do — score that goal and give us an early lead.”

The Wild­cats were rolling from there.

Owen J. Roberts kept Phoenixville with­out a le­git­i­mate scor­ing threat un­til late in the first half, though the Phan­toms’ cor­ner try was quickly dis­missed by the Wild­cat de­fense. For the game, OJR held an 18-1 ad­van­tage in cor­ners as well as a 30-1 ad­van­tage in shots on goal on the way to their eighth shutout of the sea­son.

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