Reign­ing ‘Cats

Owen J. Roberts wins PAC fi­nal re­match, reaches dis­trict quar­ters

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tucker Ba­gley

LOWER POTTS­GROVE » Ad­van­tage, Wild­cats.

In a game that was moved to Potts­grove High School due to weather and field con­di­tions, Owen J. Roberts’ girls lacrosse team de­feated Boy­er­town, 10-4, on Thurs­day to move on to the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Dis­trict 1 Class AAA play­offs.

“This wasn’t an ideal sit­u­a­tion,” Boy­er­town head coach Pam Wern­ers­bach said of play­ing on turf. “We have to get the game in and it’s un­for­tu­nate that our school dis­trict doesn’t have turf fields, but we’re lucky schools like (Potts­grove) al­low us to play on their fields. But in sit­u­a­tions like this, it doesn’t give the play­ers a chance to set­tle down and get com­fort­able.”

“We found out we were play­ing here this morn­ing,” Wild-

cats head coach Casey Kel­logg ad­mit­ted. “But we were very ex­cited about play­ing on turf. It’s not a huge difference, but it is an ad­van­tage if you’re used to prac­tic­ing on turf.”

The game pit­ted No. 8-seeded Boy­er­town against No. 9 Owen J. Roberts in a re­match of last week’s Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, which OJR won, 8-6, to cap a two­day af­fair de­layed mid­way through by weather.

The Wild­cats move on to play in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Dis­trict 1 play­offs against top-seeded Gar­net Val­ley, who de­feated Abing­ton, 13-7.

With a win, the Wild­cats would book a third straight trip to the PIAA Class AAA play­offs while a loss would drop them into the dis­trict play­backs.

Boy­er­town won the open­ing draw Thurs­day, but af­ter a huge save from Owen J. Roberts’ goalie Cay­den Jarvis on the open­ing possession, the Wild­cats raced out to a 3-0 ad­van­tage, thanks to goals from Eloise Ge­bert, Danika Swech and Kelsey Kil­gal­lon.

“I wish that made us more com­fort­able,” Kel­logg said of the early lead. “But we’re al­ways on edge and Boy­er­town is a great team. You can’t re­lax when play­ing against them.”

The Bears clawed back with a goal by Hannnah Mitchell, but still trailed, 4-1, at the half af­ter Swech notched her sec­ond tally of the game.

“We didn’t get the right amount of move­ment we needed to score and their goalie was re­ally, re­ally good,” Wern­ers­bach ex­plained. “We’ve played them four times this year and that was the best she’s played yet.”

Owen J. Roberts came out of half­time on fire, scor­ing twice on free-po­si­tion shots. Char­lotte Lasak added an­other goal, with an as­sist from Maddi Koury, and the Wild­cats pushed their lead to 7-1 less than four min­utes into the sec­ond half.

How­ever, it took Jen O’Con­nor just nine sec­onds af­ter the en­su­ing draw to take the ball down the field and dish it to Kristi Kada for the Bears’ sec­ond goal of the game. Wild­cats’ mid­fielder Han­nah De­la­haye and Boy­er­town’s Amanda Di­achyn­sky then traded goals to push the score to 8-3 mid­way through the sec­ond half.

Boy­er­town re­ceived a two-player ad­van­tage a few min­utes later af­ter yel­low cards were handed to a pair of Wild­cats. The Bears scored one goal in less than 12 sec­onds, but were un­able to gen­er­ate any more of­fense with the ad­van­tage.

“I think our de­fense played out of their minds tonight,” Kel­logg said. “We caused a cou­ple of turnovers when we were two men down. Any­time the ball got down to that half of the field, our de­fense just came up with a big play and when that hap­pens, it re­ally gets the rest of the team amped up.”

De­la­haye and Kil­gal­lon then sealed the vic­tory with two more goals.

Jarvis fin­ished the day with nine saves and al­lowed just two goals on seven free po­si­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties. Of­fen­sively, the Wild­cats were led by Ge­bert and Swech, who com­bined for five of their 10 goals.

Mitchell, Kada, Di­achyn­sky and Sydney Fox scored goals for the Bears, whose sea­son ended on Thurs­day night.

“I could not be prouder of what these play­ers have done as a group,” said Wern­ers­bach. “They made big gains through­out the year, this is the high­est seed we’ve had for dis­tricts in a long time. It’s a shame we didn’t win.”

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Owen J. Roberts’ Han­nah De­la­haye (39) and Rory Cahill (36) walk off the field to­gether fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s win over Boy­er­town in the Dis­trict One play­offs.

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Owen J. Roberts’ Sophia Mur­ray (24) cuts through a group of Boy­er­town de­fend­ers dur­ing the sec­ond half of Thurs­day’s dis­trict play­off game.

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Han­nah Mitchell (11) fol­lows through on a goal dur­ing the first half of Thurs­day’s Dis­trict One play­off game against Owen J. Roberts.

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Sydney Fox (1) pos­sesses the ball while Owen J. Roberts’ Sophia Mur­ray, right, de­fends dur­ing the sec­ond half Thurs­day.

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