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Swart-McClatchy connection ignites Carroll attack

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PHILADELPHIA >> Sam Swart and Gracie McClatchy have spent enough time on the hockey field to know what to expect from each other.

“She’s my go-to girl,”Swart said of McClatchy, who scored two goals — both assisted by Swart — in the second half Tuesday as District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll earned a 2-0 decision over District 11 runner-up Southern Lehight in a PIAA Class AA Tournament opening-round game at Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium.

The Patriots will play a quarterfinal contest Saturday against District Three champion Donegal, a 5-0 first-round winner over Merion Mercy, the third-place team from District One.

The site and time of that game will be announced Wednesday.

Carroll (16-5) had much the better of the play against Southern Lehigh (20-4) in the first half Tuesday, outshooting

Archbishop Carroll's Samantha Swart (1) and Gracie McClatchy (20) celebrate a goal scored by McClatchy with the assist from Swart.

Archbishop Carroll’s Samantha Swart (1) and Gracie McClatchy (20) celebrate a goal scored by McClatchy with the assist from Swart.

the Spartans, 7-1, and earning seven penalty corners while giving up just one.

“The coaches told us at halftime we just had to get the ball into the back of the cage,” McClatchy said. “We always say we have to work together as a unit.”

With just under 11 minutes to play in the second half, the Carroll attack swarmed into the scoring circle. Swart banged a shot off Spartans goalie Jenna Cyr’s pads, and McClatchy was where she needed to be to control the rebound and break the scoreless tie.

“We knew if we didn’t put the ball in the back of the cage, it would have been the last time all of us had the chance to play together,” McClatchy said.

At the other end of the field, senior Carly Peters was keeping the Patriots’ defensive unit together. With just under five minutes remaining, Peters stopped the ball and pushed it ahead for another Carroll scoring rush. Again it was Swart getting off a shot, with McClatchy finishing the play.

“We know other teams are going to try to get to the circle as much as they can,” said Peters. “We have to stay in line, work as hard as we can and keep back to keep them away.

“Winning the Catholic League was one of our goals, but now we have a lot bigger goal — winning states.”

Swart didn’t need a lot to motivate her to play hard. She lives in the Southern Lehigh area and has a lot of friends on the Spartans team.

“They’re my neighbors, and I love them to death,” said Swart, a junior who has committed to Syracuse to play lacrosse. “They were having a pasta party (Monday) night, and I thought about going over there after I got home from practice and yelling ‘let’s go Carroll.’

“It’s great to win a game in the state tournament. Now we have to work hard at practice and try to keep things going.”

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