WORCESTER >> After a tie and a loss this season to Mount Saint Joseph, the girls of the Merion Mercy field hockey team knew there was only one way to earn the District 1-AA field hockey title Saturday afternoon at Methacton High School.
They would have to defeat the Magic.
And head coach Greta Ehret knew how.
“I told our team that until we beat them, we were the underdogs,” Ehret said. “But to beat them we needed maximum effort and maximum team play.”
And that’s precisely what the Golden Bears got Saturday afternoon. That, and goals from Kelsey Farkas, Allie Scannapieco and Caroline Steller that carried the Bears to a 3-1 upset win and the District 1-AA crown.
“I’ve been waiting for this since freshman year,” said Steller, whose second-half goal provided the necessary insurance after the Bears had fashioned a 2-1 halftime edge. “We have a team full of seniors, and we all felt this was our year.”
It was certainly their game.
Fresh off upsetting two-time district champs Villa Maria in the semifinals, the Bears took the initiative and scored just over six minutes into the game when Farkas pounced on a rebound and put the Bears on the scoreboard.
And the Bears were just getting started.
Scannapieco tallied off an assist from Jaime Natale and the lead was doubled.
“We knew it would be a tough game from the beginning,” said co-captain Kolbe Keating. “But our philosophy was, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The Magic got a goal from Grace Wallis just before halftime, but the die was cast.
Steller’s goal midway through the second half added the necessary icing, and the Bears had what they wanted most.
The Mount had a goal disallowed in the game’s final 3:30, but it was too late for the Magic, who would not challenge again down the stretch, although they have a state berth with which to seek retribution.
“It just wasn’t our day,” said Magic head coach Tina Reinprecht. “But our kids fought hard, and now we’re looking forward to going to states and doing some damage there.”
Meanwhile, the party was just getting started on the Golden Bears side of the field.
“This,” said Steller, “is the best feeling in the world.”
“The girls played hard for the full 60 minutes,” Ehret said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”