GA ad­vances past Hill School

Ger­man­town Academy scores on three de­flec­tions, ad­vances past Hill School in PAISAA semi­fi­nals

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ed Mor­lock emor­lock@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @emor09 on Twit­ter

WHITEMARSH >> Ger­man­town Academy knew what to work on head­ing into their PAISAA semi­fi­nal matchup with The Hill School.

The Pa­tri­ots wanted to get penalty cor­ners and re­di­rect balls in­side the cir­cle.

They scored three times on cor­ners — all tipped at the last se­cond — to ad­vance past Hill, 3-1, Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at Oberkircher Field on the cam­pus of Ger­man­town Academy.

Cap­tain Sammy Pop­per as­sisted all three goals.

“We ac­tu­ally did (work on de­flec­tions) yes­ter­day, which is funny,” Pop­per said. “We did a lot of tip­ping stuff yes­ter­day, but nor­mally we don’t re­ally work on it that much. One of our philoso­phies is never giv­ing up in the cir­cle. One of our coaches says, ‘Fire in the belly’ in the cir­cle, kind of like what­ever is in front of the goal, we just make sure it gets in the goal.”

The first came just 104 sec­onds into the game. The Pa­tri­ots earned a penalty cor­ner —

their third in the first two min­utes of the game — and So­phie Towne sent the insert pass to Pop­per. Pop­per took a shot to­wards to close side of the goal, where Towne had re-en­tered the field. Towne got a piece of the shot and redi­rected it into the back of the cage for a 1-0 lead.

With the score tied at one early in the se­cond half, Pop­per and Towne were at it again. This time, after re­ceiv­ing Towne’s insert pass, Pop­per drib­bled to the mid­dle of the cir­cle and lifted the ball. Towne reached her stick over her head to get a piece of it and guided it into the goal.

“Es­pe­cially against a team with a strong goal­keeper we’re al­ways look­ing for those easy tip-in goals,” GA coach Jackie Con­nard said. “We’ve been em­pha­siz­ing that a lot this sea­son.”

The Pa­tri­ots added an in­sur­ance goal less than four min­utes later. Towne’s insert pass went to Pop­per, who drib­bled left and hit a back­hand shot to­wards the goal. Cat McFad­den was in front and was able to get her stick on it to beat the goalie and give GA a 3-1 lead that would hold up as the fi­nal score.

“Three of our four goals last time we played were on

cor­ners,” Con­nard said, ref­er­enc­ing a 4-2 GA win last week. “That was the plan to­day — to try to get as many cor­ners as we could and cap­i­tal­ize once we got them. Again to­day all three of our goals were cor­ners.”

“They have one of the most skilled and tal­ented play­ers who we play all sea­son,” Hill coach Jen Weiss­bach said, re­fer­ring to Pop­per. “She does a great job of cre­at­ing her own shot and it’s hard and it’s fast and it’s ac­cu­rate. Props to them. She does a great job tak­ing those shots, but I’m proud of our ‘D.’ I think our ‘D’ did a nice job shut­ting most of them down. We just couldn’t cap­i­tal­ize on our op­por­tu­ni­ties. That’s what it came down to.”

The Blues best chance to cut into their two-goal deficit came with less than 10 min­utes re­main­ing. Pop­per was off the field for trip­ping and the Pa­tri­ots were play­ing short-handed for five min­utes. Hill sent a pass to the far post that looked to be an easy goal, but GA de­fender Grace Pacitti was there to keep her stick low and mus­cle the ball out of the cir­cle.

“Com­ing back to full strength after be­ing down a player is def­i­nitely a mo­men­tum boost,” Con­nard said. “When we’re down

a man we pull a for­ward back. Then as soon as we can get back to full strength up front it’s good mo­men­tum.”

Hill tied the game at one with seven min­utes left in the first half. Lo­gan Clouser drib­bled to the right side of GA’s cage and lifted a shot over the slid­ing goalie into the back of the net.

GA will face Penn Char­ter in In­ter-Ac League play Satur­day be­fore fac­ing Epis­co­pal Academy in the PAISAA cham­pi­onship Tues­day.

“If we win (Satur­day) we win our league,” Con­nard said, “which hasn’t hap­pened in I think 12 years, so that will be a good one for us.”

The loss brings an end to Hill’s sea­son.

“In­cred­i­bly proud of the girls,” Weiss­bach said. “Our girls work hard ev­ery sin­gle day and they con­tin­ued to get bet­ter all sea­son. I think we fin­ished with more wins than last year, fewer losses than last year and over­all our fu­ture I think is re­ally bright. We have the ma­jor­ity of our team — about half of our team — is sopho­mores. While we’re thank­ful for all of the se­niors and what they did for us, I think our fu­ture is bright with the young ta­lent that we have.”

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ger­man­town Academy’s So­phie Towne reaches up to knock the ball into the net dur­ing their PAISAA semi­fi­nal against The Hill School Wed­nes­day.

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