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Catholic Academies highlight Reporter/Times Herald area’s successful season

It was quite the season for the field hockey teams in the Catholic Academies League in 2016.

In the District 1 playoffs, the league produced two champions and three finalists in the Class A and Class AA divisions.

Gwynedd Mercy Academy won its first District 1 title in more than 20 years. After finishing fourth in the Catholic Academies League in the regular season, the Monarchs caught fire in districts. They beat Jenkingtown 9-0, Dock Mennonite 4-1 and — for the Class A title — New Hope 3-0.

GMA faced its last two opponents — Dock and New Hope — again in the D1-12 Class A regional postseason. It defeated both — Dock 3-1 and New Hope 3-0 — to earn first place in the region.

The momentum didn’t carry into states. GMA couldn’t capitalize on plenty of first-half opportunities and lost to Greenwood in the first round, 3-1.

Mount Saint Joseph Academy finished third in the Catholic Academies League and made it to the District 1 Class AA final before losing to familiar league rival Merion Mercy, 3-1. To reach the final, the Mount beat Penncrest 3-0, Bishop Shanahan 1-0 and West Chester East 4-1.

In the first round of the state tournament, MSJ knocked out Lampeter Strasburg, 5-1. Then the Magic ran into undefeated power Donegal and lost, 10-1, to bring their season to an end.

The two teams that beat the Mount in the postseason — Merion Mercy and Donegal — will be playing each other for the Class AA state championship Saturday.

Suburban One League

Some of the area’s Suburban One League schools impressed in 2016.

Plymouth Whitemarsh won the American Conference with a perfect 14-0 record. Defender Frankie O’Brien — who will be playing at Hofstra next year — led the team both on and off the field. The vocal leader scored 29 goals this season and tallied nine assists.

The Colonials started the District 1 Class AAA playoffs with a bye before beating Central Bucks South, 3-2. Their district hopes diminished with a 5-1 loss to Conestoga and they didn’t qualify for states after losing to Central Bucks East, 9-1, in the playback bracket.

O’Brien and sophomore Sam Spera both earned First Team All League honors.

Upper Dublin — led by First Team All League selection Maddie Templeton — finished just behind the Colonials in the SOL American standings. The Cardinals went 11-3 — good enough for second place — and qualified for the district tournament. They beat Lower Merion, 1-0, in the first round and were rewarded with a matchup against No. 1 seeded Unionville, which ended Upper Dublin’s season, 7-1.

Wissahickon came in third in the SOL American Conference in its first year under head coach Leah Angstadt. The Trojans went 9-5 in league play behind First Team All League selections Jessica Waite and Grace Ball. Their season ended when they lost to North Penn, 4-1, in the first round of the district playoffs.

The Knights earned their trip to districts after going 9-3 and finishing third in the SOL Continental Conference. After Bri O’Donnell scored two goals to lift North Penn past Wiss, the Knights season ended with a narrow 1-0 loss to Council Rock South.

Souderton went 5-6-1 in SOL Continental play — good enough for fourth place and a district playoff berth. They lost, 6-2, to Downingtown East in the first round of districts.

Bicentennial League

Dock Mennonite Academy won the BAL Independence title with a perfect 14-0 league record behind senior Jess Bolton and her 33 goals. As the No. 1 seed in the District 1 Class A tournament, the Pioneers had a bye followed by a tough matchup with red hot Gwynedd Mercy Academy. After losing to GMA, 4-1, Dock won its playback game against Lower Moreland to earn a spot in the D1-12 Class A regional postseason. It lost to Gwynedd again, 3-1, but came back to beat Lansdale Catholic, 6-0, to earn a trip to states.

Dock got another tough draw in the state playoffs, matching up with undefeated Oley Valley. The Pioneers hung tough against a great team that returned all its starters from the previous year, but lost, 2-1. Oley Valley will be playing for the state championship Saturday.

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