The Boyertown Area Times
Boyertown advances to first PAC championship since 2018, overwhelmed by nationally-ranked Owen J. Roberts in final
No. 3 Boyertown and No. 2 Phoenixville couldn’t get a leg up on one another through 20 minutes. When one gained a sliver of ground, the other had a perfect answer.
Tied 4-4 at halftime during the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinals, the game was at a pace where each goal was precious. But after four separate ties, the pendulum swayed in the Bears’ favor.
Boyertown pieced together a five-goal run in the second half to pull away permanently on the way to a 13-9 win over the Phantoms at Coach McNelly Stadium.
With the victory, the Bears (13-5) advanced to their first PAC final since 2018 and faced top-seeded Owen J. Roberts for the conference crown.
“I think we’re all really excited,” Boyertown senior Delaney Fox said on the program’s return to the championship stage. “This is a good opportunity to put our names out there and that we’re ready to compete.”
Fox led the Bears with four goals and four draw controls. Down 6-5 with 17 minutes left, Boyertown ignited its five-goal burst with an equalizer from Alina Fitz (two goals, five assists).
Less than a minute later, Hannah Adamski (three goals, two draw controls) buried a go-ahead goal to give the Bears the lead — and their first in 24 minutes, 20 seconds of play — 7-6.
With 13:20 left, Peyton Shellaway (four draw controls) drove down a lane between defenders and unloaded a shot to go up 8-6. Just 48 seconds later, Friz notched her second goal of the night. Bailey Leatherman capped the scoring onslaught with a goal to balloon Boyertown’s lead 10-6.
“We had a really encouraging halftime,” Fox said on the sudden shift in pace. “We talked about what we needed to do and the things we needed to change. I think the energy had a big shift.”
The most the Bears led by was by five goals, 12-7 after Fox buried her fourth goal of
the game with 8:51 to go and 13-8 after a dish over the middle from Adamski with 3:06 left in the game.
Boyertown ran into early trouble in the form of Phoenixville (11-8) attack Erin Reedy. The sophomore wasted no time scoring a hat trick within the first six minutes of the game, peppering the crease while putting up four goals on the night past Elli Ferraro (four saves) and Teagan Tyson (four saves).
“She was beating us badly on the crease. I just made some personnel changes and asked us to play her differently than what we had seen,” Boyertown coach Pam Wernersbach said. “The other defenders started to communicate more and be in better positions to help each other as well.”
The Phantoms led by as much as two points two separate times during the opening minutes as both teams traded blows. Adison Harner opened the scoring for the Bears just under two minutes into the game before Bridget Kelly tied things up for Phoenixville.
Reedy poured on back-toback goals to go up 3-1 before Fox found her first of the night. Both players alternated scores once more before Leatherman tied the game for the second time of the night for the Bears, taking the 4-4 stalemate into halftime.
It was evident from the jump that Phoenixville wasn’t allowing a repeat of its 15-7 margin of loss against Boyertown on April 3.
“They didn’t think about
the game as it being Boyertown. It was just another game to them,” Phantoms coach Aamina Thornton said. “We came out like, ‘We have nothing to lose.’ We played them already, we know what they’re capable of. Boyertown’s a good team, obviously they made adjustments.
“We made adjustments too, but key turnovers kind of turned the game around. But I thought they played their butts off.”
Phoenixville, ranked No. 24 in District 1 Class 3A, got a pair of goals from senior midfielder Caroline Flick. Addison Graver and Jaime Michaud also found the back of the net for their squad.
The Phantoms won backto-back PAC titles in 1987 and 1988, but have been on a title drought since.
“I’m proud of my girls, they fought to the end,” Thornton said. “You play Boyertown … they’ve been the Queenpins for God knows how long now.”
The Bears have a PAChigh 19 conference titles, the last coming in 2014 after a 17-6 win over Phoenixville. Ranked No. 16 in District 1-3A, Boyertown would need to pull off an upset of Owen J. Roberts — nationally ranked No. 16 by Inside Lacrosse.
“We’re just taking it day by day,” Fox said. “I think we’ll be real excited to play on Thursday and we’re looking forward to districts.”
Owen J. Roberts rolls Boyertown in final
KING OF PRUSSIA >> A year removed
from a monumental upset, Owen J. Roberts has recaptured lightning in a bottle.
In a rematch of the 2018 Pioneer Athletic Conference girls lacrosse championship, the Wildcats rolled over Boyertown, 21-1 to secure the program’s ninth PAC title and seventh within the last nine years.
The new hardware for a rapidly growing trophy case at Owen J. Roberts (18-1) comes after the team was upset by Methacton on the same stage last season. The Wildcats first routed the Warriors, 18-2 to punch their ticket to the final and ultimately complete their revenge tour.
“Last year, we learned a big lesson. We came out slow, it was not a great game for us,” senior midfielder Gabbi Koury said on last year’s final. “That lesson has taught us. This season, we’ve kept our foot on the gas every single game. Especially this one.”
Koury had her pedal held to the floor.
On the heels of scoring her 400th point in just three seasons two days prior, the two-time AllAmerican and University of Florida pledge amassed a game-high six goals, four assist and made five draw controls with eight ground balls, greasing an engine ranked No. 16 in the nation by Inside Lacrosse and No. 1 in Class 3A by phillylacrosse.com.
While padding the stats, Koury also bolstered her legacy. As the seconds ticked off the running clock just before halftime, she was fed a pass by Laina Grimm and buried a shot at the buzzer to take a 15-1 lead into the break. Koury’s goal marked the 256th of her varsity career, breaking the Owen J. Roberts scoring record of 255 set by Maddie Gebert in 2016.
“Obviously Maddie had it before me and she’s an amazing player. We all as a
team have been striving to be great this year, so I give credit to my teammates, especially on that last-second shot by Laina Grimm. Couldn’t have been a more perfect pass,” Koury said on the milestone.
The Wildcats enacted the running clock with 11:48 to go in the first half. Koury fed Ava Clemson a pass over the middle in transition and the latter dumped it off to Grimm, who boosted Owen J. Roberts 11-1 with a topshelf shot from just outside the crease.
Alexa Vogelman — also a two-time All-American committed to Syracuse — put up five goals and five assists. Blakely Doyle (Liberty) scored a hat trick while Colby Wasson (Xavier) and Grimm tacked on a pair of goals apiece, the latter tallying three assists.
Koury sandwiched a Vogelman goal between two of her own within the first three minutes for a quick 3-0 lead. Following the senior middie duo were goals from Clemson and Doyle for a 5-0 run from the opening draw.
Boyertown (13-6) then responded, scoring its lone goal of the night. Adison Harmer connected with Peyton Shellaway to net one with 19:11 to go in the first half.
While Owen J. Roberts has been “the new kid on the block” this past decade, Boyertown is much the old guard. The Bears have racked up a PAC-high 19 conference titles, the most recent coming in 2014 with a 17-6 win over Phoenixville.
As the PAC runner-up, Boyertown sits at No. 16 in the District 1-3A field ahead of postseason play.
“I am, as well as the entire coaching staff, so proud of this team of young women to get to the PAC playoffs as well as reach the championship,” Bears coach Pam Wernersbach said. “Coming into the season, I don’t suspect that anyone would believe
that we would be in this position.
“The leadership and character provided by the senior class has been incredibly important in our development as a team. We look forward to having the opportunity to compete in districts.”
The night was also one of coronation for Owen J. Roberts’ senior class. The win marked the group’s first PAC championship in the tournament format, having lost their freshman season to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the absence of playoffs in 2021 and an upset to Methacton last year.
Rent was due, and a senior class that includes eight Division I players cashed their checks ahead of graduation.
“To come back and win this, this is one of our principle goals of the season,” Owen J. Roberts coach David Schlesinger said, noting the program’s last win of the tournament format in 2019. “We’re very excited to return the plaque to our school.”
Schlesinger, in his fifth year at the helm of the program, has overseen the formation of the NXT Black 2023 team as seniors this year. And that group currently holds the No. 2 spot in the District 1-3A rankings behind top-ranked Springfield-Delco.