LOWER MERION >> With time winding down in overtime, and daylight fading quickly, Notre Dame senior Quinn Maguire looked down and saw the ball at her feet.
She had no idea how the ball got there. Quinn did not know which one of her teammates took the shot that glanced off the pads of Episcopal Academy goalie Bridget Boyle, but it did not matter. All Quinn knew was that the ball was right in front of her and her field hockey instincts immediately kicked in.
“I saw it and took a whack at it,” Maguire said.
It would be the last hit of her scholastic career and one that the Saint Joseph’s-bound senior will remember forever.
Quinn’s shot found the back of the cage 11:20 into overtime to give the Irish a thrilling 3-2 triumph over the Churchwomen in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championship game Wednesday afternoon at Bryn Mawr College.
“I have no idea what happened,” Maguire said. “Everything’s a blur right now.”
Notre Dame coach Adele Williams was in the dark, too. It took several minutes before she found out that it was Maguire who scored the winner and that immediately brought a huge smile to Williams’ face.
“It was very fitting that the kid who made an impact her freshman year scored the last goal of her senior year,” Williams said.
Williams was not surprised that Quinn was unaware of how the final play transpired.
“That’s her,” Williams said. “She’s selfless. She doesn’t care who scores, winning is what matters. It’s about the team and that’s why I love the kid.”
As for how the final play came about, it all started with senior Mary Kate Neff. She set the whole thing in motion. On a restart from the 25-yard area, Neff stickhandled the ball for the required five yards before she sent a pass to Tina D’Anjolell, who promptly put a shot on net.
Boyle was equal to the task. She got a piece of D’Anjolell’s drive, but not enough of it to send the ball out of harm’s way. Quinn was there to put the rebound home and touch off a massive celebration.
“It was crazy,” Neff said. “Quinn scored and the next thing I knew I was in the bottom of a pile.”
Quinn’s goal, her second of the game, pushed her over the 100-point mark for the season and gave the Irish (19-2-1) their first PAISAA title since 2013, which had Williams reminiscing once again.
“Quinn, MK (Neff) and Cameron (Osbourne) started as freshmen on that team,” Williams said. “It’s kind of fitting that they end that way, too.”
The title, though, did not come easy, which was to be expected. Episcopal Academy (13-7-2) was the two-time defending PAISAA champ and did play Notre Dame tough in the team’s two meetings in the regular season. Notre Dame scored twice in the second half to take the first meeting, 3-1, and needed three goals from Maguire for a 4-1 victory the second time around.
Round Three was no different.
“I give EA credit,” Williams said. “I have no idea how they scored their second goal, but they don’t give up. They’re a great team to play and I’m just excited that it was a fun game, great competition between two rivals. I didn’t expect anything less today.”
Neff converted a pass from Quinn to open the scoring and Quinn found the back of the cage 62 seconds later and a rout appeared to be on. Boyle, Lexi Fischer and the EA defense made sure that did not happen.
Fischer scored the first of her two goals, off a pass from Corinne Zanoli, with 6:58 left in the first half to cut the deficit in half. Fischer struck again, just 33 seconds into the second half, to level the score. Boyle and the Episcopal Academy defense took over from there.
Boyle, who is headed to Drexel to play lacrosse, made 11 of her 15 saves in the second half and overtime. At times, it appeared as if Boyle was under siege.
“Notre Dame is a good team,” Boyle said. “I know I’m going to face a lot of good shots because they have a lot of college players, but I know that we have the players to match up and go head-to-head with them.”
“Bridget played very well,” Episcopal Academy coach Gina Buggy said. “I thought the whole team played very well. We used a lot of different kids in different positions and they came through. We had our scoring opportunities and their goalie played well as well.”
Notre Dame’s Katie Liebeskind only was credited with two saves, but one came in overtime off a shot from Maddie Rehack to keep the game tied and set the stage for Maguire.
“The whole game was really nerve wracking, especially when we went into overtime,” Maguire said, “but I can’t think of a better way to end my career.”