WHITEMARSH >> In the end, Gwynedd Mercy’s field hockey team did what its was supposed to do, blanking New Hope, 3-0, to capture the bizarre District One/District 12 Class A Regional title and earn a top seed at the upcoming state tournament.
But while the Monarchs were celebrating their good fortune, they were also tipping their collective caps to New Hope goaltender Kennedy Luke, who fashioned 24 often-spectacular saves in the Lions loss.
Ultimately, the Monarchs won behind a pair of goals from Alden Boccella and a single goal from Katie Cusamano, and that was important because as head coach Alex McMahan said, the team is learning to win.
“They’ve learned to succeed as a team,” McMahan aaid, “and they have that confidence that it’s going to take as they move on to states.”
The Monarchs have, as senior Gabby Saxton pointed out, grown as a team.
“In the beginning of the season it was tough,” Saxton said. “But as every game has gone on, we’ve gotten stronger and tougher.
“But that doesn’t stop now. Just because we’re heading to states, that doesn’t mean anything.
“We have to keep getting better because we’re going to face good teams and good goalies.”
It would be hard to imagine, however, that the Monarchs will see anyone better in net than Luke, whose 24 saves very nearly overshadowed the Gwynedd victory.
“Kennedy has had a fantastic year,” praised New Hope head coach Gwen Smith. “She never stops. She has really elevated her gamr this year.
“She makes a play on the first shots, and she is able to read where the next chance is coming from.”
“I was definitely prepared,” Luke said. “I just love playing goal.
“I have just put in hours of practice to get where I am now.”
Cusamano scored at the 10:51 mark of the first half, then Boccella got the first of her two with 2:44 remaining in the opening half.
When Boccella doubled her goal total early in the second, the contest all but over.
By game’s end, Gwynedd would accumulate 27 shots and 20 corners.