Downingtown – All season long Downingtown West and Harriton have used strong defensive backlines as key recipes for success, so when the two teams squared off in the opening round of the District 1 4A playoffs Tuesday evening at DiSerafino Stadium, it appeared as though the tougher defense would prevail.
When the final horn sounded it was the ninth-seeded Whippets coming away with a decisive 10-0 win over the the No. 24 Rams, due in large part to a stingy back line that allowed for the hosts to turn that defense into offense and advance to Thursday’s second round at Quakertown.
“Morgan sets the tone in goal,” said Downingtown West coach Mary Schanne. “She keeps everything organized in the backfield that allowed us to keep our shape, play through the midfield which sprung our attackers that led to scoring opportunities.”
“It’s awesome having Morgan back there,” said senior Casey Sheehan. “She does a great job organizing the defense and I wouldn’t be as good as I am without her.”
Although O’Loughlin was not very busy this evening, she is quick to praise her defense saying, “Our coaches have done a great job mixing different kids in like Cecelia Klapac, who is one our youngest defenders who has done a great job but there have been some games where Megan (Lundmark) and Grace (Vasso) have put this team on their back and I couldn’t have done what I have done without them.”
Lundmark added, “I love shutting players down from scoring. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
Early on, both teams had scoring opportunities, but each time the defensive backline stepped up, limiting opportunities. With 24:05 left in the first half, Downingtown West (14-3-2) was able to create space and cash in when Sydney Amparo hit a streaking Sammie Sipes who then made the extra pass to Emily Feeney who made the most of her scoring chance beating keeper Lily Saul to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
For the next 10 minutes it appeared as though another scoring opportunity might not happen as both teams once again stood strong on the back line. However, Downingtown West would soon end the scoring drought, as Amparo would score two goals within a 1:32 span to give her squad some breathing room.