Conwell-Egan senior Lindsay Straka, 30, left, is marked by Notre Dame ES senior Hannah Durham (#16) in PIAA Class A opener Nov. 8 at Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
PHILADELPHIA – Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) junior Ally Wojton’s sister Maddy was a freshman on the Lady Eagles’ team that made a run to the 2012 PIAA finals. But Egan – winners of five straight District 12 championships – has made a quick exit in each of the years since.
With one stroke of her leg in a PIAA Class A opener against Notre Dame East Stroudsburg Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium (CMMS), the younger Wojton changed all that. With 2:37 remaining on a duel that the Eagles led 2-1 at the half but was now deadlocked at 2-all, Ally put a boot on a free kick from just inside the 30-yard marker.
With the ball caroming off the fingertips of Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Alexa Pellack into the back of the left-hand corner of the net, the result was a game-winning strike by Wojton, sending her team to a state quarterfinal pairing on Saturday. At 2 p.m. at Tulpehocken High School in Bernville, Egan (11-9) will face District 4 champion Warrior Run, a 4-0 winner over District 3 runner-up York Catholic.
“It was great; when I saw the ball go in, I just wanted to cry,” said Wojton.
“It felt great that I was the one that put us up but I was just hoping that someone would get one in.
“I really wanted to get past this round.”
“To finally get there feels amazing.”
While the Eagles led by a goal at the half, they fell behind early in this one. Notre Dame senior Krista Kissell – who threatened to score twice earlier in the battle – took a feed from classmate Yudemis Sanchez, forced CEC junior Maddy Terry to commit, then beat the keeper with a shot to the far left-hand post.
Conwell-Egan takes a 3-2 lead with 2:45 left. pic.twitter.com/tM6V12h3EY
— Jarrad Saffren (@JarradSaff) November 8, 2016
Ten minutes later, Egan obtained the equalizer with senior Lindsay Straka taking a turnover about 30 yards out, then blasting a shot that ricocheted off the fingertips of Pellack and off the left side post. Fortunately for the Eagles, sophomore Theresa Richardson was waiting right there to put the ball in the back of the net.
“My first instinct was to shoot so I just ripped one,” said Straka. “And of course, we had our little Theresa right there. She just popped it in.
“I knew she was going to be there – she’s always right there when you need her.”
Three minutes later, Egan was on the scoreboard again. And again, it was Straka providing the scoring spark, taking a feed from sophomore Chloe Grabowski and going in all alone on the keeper, beating her to her left for the goal that put the Eagles on top, 2-1, at the intermission.
While Egan didn’t exactly pound the Spartans’ net with scoring chances after the break, they certainly kept the District 11 champions hemmed in their own end throughout much of the second half.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Notre Dame (15-5) made good on its first shot in the second stanza with Notre Dame junior Emma Martinetti taking a feed from Kissell and top-shelfing the ball into the right-hand corner of the net, deadlocking the sides at 2-all with a little over 16 minutes to play in regulation.
“That was a surprise to all of us,” admitted Straka. “That’s what made us all realize that this could be it for all of us. I know that we didn’t want that and that’s why we came through and ended the game with that lovely kick from Ally.”
Even before she placed her boot on the ball, Straka said she knew Wojton would come through.
“Ally’s free kicks are always bullets,” she said. “They’re always so hard and so direct; I don’t ever doubt her shot – not, ever.”
Finally getting a win in states – the first for everyone on the squad including six seniors – was priceless.
“This feels amazing,” said Straka. “You have no idea.
“After that whistle blew, it was just an unbelievable feeling.”
In order to get to the state playoffs this year, the Eagles had to first get past Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival MaST Charter in the District 12 Class A title game Nov. 2 at CMMS. They did so in shutout fashion, blanking the Panthers 3-0 on goals by Straka, Wojton and junior Carly Bonfig.
Conwell-Egan 3, Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg 2
(Nov. 8 at Northeast HS)
CONWELL-EGAN 2 1 – 3
NOTRE DAME 1 1 – 2
FIRST-HALF GOALS: Krista Kissell (ND) from Yudemis Sanchez, 11th minute; Theresa Richardson (CEC), unassisted, 21st minute; Lindsay Straka (CEC) from Chloe Grabowski, 24th minute.
SECOND-HALF GOALS: Emma Martinetti (ND) from Krista Kissell, 64th minute; Ally Wojton (CEC), 78th minute.
SHOTS: Conwell-Egan 8, Notre Dame 8.
SAVES: Maddy Terry (CEC) 5; Alexa Pellack 5.