UPPER MORELAND >> Playoff competition can be a completely different animal for some teams. Many players tighten up, not wanting to make mistakes on the big stage. Others try to do too much, forcing the issue when they should be playing more relaxed.
Before this season, no one on No. 7 seed Upper Moreland knew what it was like to play in a district playoff game but they passed their first test with flying colors Wednesday.
The Bears used a dominant offensive performance to take down No. 10 Jenkintown, 22-7, and advance to the quarterfinals of the District 1-AA tournament where they face No. 2 Gwynedd Mercy Academy.
“I’m so honored to play with these girls,” said UM senior Mel Wittick. “We’ve pushed so hard for this year and the fact that we were able to make it to playoffs my senior year and never made it any other year makes it special.”
When you put up 22 goals as a team there are bound to be a few players with impressive stat lines. Perhaps the most impressive one came from freshman Meghan O’Donnell.
O’Donnell scored a team-high five goals and added an assist for good measure as she used her quickness to get to the net all afternoon.
It would be easy for a young player to take the credit for her stellar afternoon, but she credited a lot of her success to the support she gets from her teammates.
“It’s really awesome that, as a freshman, I can go in and put trust in my teammates and know they have my back,” said O’Donnell. “I just keep reminding myself to be aggressive and go to goal and not be timid with the ball because if I do make a mistake my teammates are always there for me.”
On this afternoon, there weren’t a lot of mistakes for her teammates to clean up.
Just six minutes into the game Upper Moreland had already shot out to a 6-0 lead, thanks in large part to two early goals from O’Donnell and two more from Emma Meakin.
Jenkintown would eventually answer with a goal of their own from Mia Kolb, but the Drakes did not have an answer defensively to stop the Bears.
After they eventually started to slow O’Donnell, Sydney Bachmayer picked up the scoring and made sure her team could cruise to a victory.
“We had some nice defensive stands and got the ball on the ground at times but unfortunately we weren’t the team coming up with the ball,” said Jenkintown head coach Ken Rodoff. “Some breakdowns up and down the field lead to some turnovers and when you do that against any team you’re going to pay the price and Upper Moreland was talented enough to convert and we really didn’t have an answer for 19 (Bachmayer) and four (O’Donnell).”
Upper Moreland now shifts their focus to Gwynedd Mercy, which it faces this upcoming Saturday with a trip to the PIAA playoffs on the line.
The two teams did not face each other at all during the season and had just two mutual opponents — Wissahickon and Jenkintown — meaning they will both come in with a level of unfamiliarity, looking to surprise one another.
“We don’t know too much about them (GMA),” said Upper Moreland head coach Kim Frantz. “I know they beat Wissahickon by one and we lost to Wissahickon by one and that was not our best game at all so there’s some unknown there.”
Upper Moreland 22, Jenkintown 7
Jenkintown 4 3 — 7
Upper Moreland 12 10 — 22
Jenkintown Goals-Assists: Christina Micel 1-0; Grace McCafferty 1-0; Mia Kolb 2-0; Isabella Byler 2-1; Amelia Mulvaney 1-0.
Upper Moreland Goals-Assists: Allison Fellicetti 2-1; Meghan O’Donnell 5-1; Emma Meakim 3-0; Sydney Bachmayer 5-1; Jessica Planagon 2-0; Cassidy Hirsch 0-1; Kaitlin Kelly 2-0; Bryanna Gordon 2-0.