FAIRLESS HILLS – Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) posted leads earlier in the season vs. Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) rivals Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Wood only to wind up on the short side of the score against those teams.
Earlier today on their home pitch, the Lady Eagles went up 1-0 early against Little Flower (10-4, 7-2) and actually held on for the win.
“Anytime you beat a team like Little Flower, it’s a good win,” said CEC head coach Andrzej “Andy” Adamiec. “It’s the first time we got the lead early and sealed the deal in the second half.”
Egan (4-7, 3-5) made the lone first-half goal by Mackensie Michaels stand and they did it with, of all things, their offense. While they didn’t reach the back of the net again in this game, for more than 20 minutes beginning the second half, the Eagles kept the Sentinels hemmed in their own end.
“I tell them all the time to play the ball up top,” said junior goalkeeper Maddy Terry, who recorded her first career shutout vs. Little Flower. “The further the ball is away from me, the better I feel and the better we usually end up doing.
“Everyone’s a defender on the field.”
Offensively, the game’s only goal began innocently enough. Junior backfielder Ally Wojton started it off with a free kick at least five yards beyond the midfield marker. The ball was placed perfectly over the top for Michaels, who didn’t try to dribble it or control it in any way, shape or form.
She just got a foot on it as it came down to earth and put it to the right of Sentinels freshman goalkeeper Natalie O’Neil. Caught off-guard, O’Neil seemed frozen in place on the shot.
“I think (the goalkeeper) did expect me to play with the ball a little bit more and not just one-time hit it in,” explained Michaels. “I thought she went the other way so I just went to the right and it completely caught her off guard.”
“Those are definitely difficult shots to judge,” added Terry. “From a keeper’s standpoint, I could understand why she didn’t charge the ball. I’m happy she didn’t; that’s how we scored.”
While half of this year’s Little Flower team are freshman, the Sentinels looked a mere semblance of their former selves. Last season, LF blanked the Lady Eagles 3-0 and two years ago, the North Philadelphia team made it as far as the Catholic League semifinals. Little Flower last won a Catholic League title in 2007.
For its part, Egan played the ball to feet, was organized and covered up all of their defensive gaffes in the game.
“Today, we definitely worked as a team,” said Terry. “In all aspects, from the defense to the offense, we worked hard together.
“That definitely showed and prevailed today.
For Terry and company, it was the first time in a while – the coach says four years – that the Eagles topped the Sentinels. Egan lost this game last year, 3-0.
“We knew coming in that Little Flower was going to work the ball and that we were going to have to be patient.
“We really capitalized on that – we were patient, we didn’t dive, we didn’t overwork ourselves; we let the game flow.
Getting the early goal certainly helped.
“When we get scored on early, it takes your mind out of the game,” explained Terry. “Suddenly, you’re panicking, you’re not focused and I think scoring early really helped us out today.”
Playing their first season without the services of central midfielder Baily Brown and left-backfielder Maddy Wojton, the Eagles struggled mightily in the early parts of this season.
Now with back to back shutout wins – Egan topped Hallahan 2-0 on Monday, Oct. 3 on its home pitch – the Eagles are certainly headed in the right direction.
Contact Steve Sherman at [email protected] or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter
Conwell-Egan 1, Little Flower 0
(Oct. 6 at Conwell-Egan)
CONWELL-EGAN (4-7, 3-5) 1 0 – 1
LITTLE FLOWER (10-4, 7-2) 0 0 – 0
GOALS: CE — Mackensie Michaels, from Ally Wojton, 19th minute; LF — none.