FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Amy Hoffman and Sarah Quintois are fully aware that the Pioneer Athletic Conference title won’t be won during the first month of the season.
However, both coaches’ teams approached Wednesday evening’s game as if it were a title bout between two heavyweights on the field at Methacton High School.
In a push-and-pull affair where neither side could garner full control throughout, Emily Owens’ goal seven minutes in proved to be the difference in Methacton’s 1-0 win over the Wildcats.
“They know the importance of it and they seemed to handle it pretty well,” said Methacton head coach Quintois of playing on a big stage this early in the season. “Our girls played confident — they don’t seem like they get too nervous. They just play ready.”
The result keeps Methacton (4-0 PAC, 6-0 overall) unbeaten to start the season, while two-time defending league champion OJR (3-1 PAC, 3-2 overall) drops its first conference game of the season.
It was the Warriors’ first win over Owen J. Roberts since the 2015 season, when Methacton clipped OJR 3-1 during a seeding game in the District One Class AAA playoffs. It was also the second time this season OJR was shutout — the first being their season-opening 2-0 loss against District 3 power Palmyra.
Owens scored the game’s lone goal on a reverse chip at 22:59 off a feed from Frankie Lucchesi.
It was the start that she and her Warrior teammates had been searching for all evening.
“It was a complete team effort,” said Owens. “From the beginning, everyone knew that we were both undefeated coming in. We all said ‘This is a good indicator as to what’s gonna happen here.’
“We’ve always had trouble with OJR,” she added, “so it was a relieving feeling to score that early goal. I saw the goalie on my right side, so I turned around and knew I had a reverse shot and sweeped it through.”
Owens and classmate Olivia Hoover were a major factor in the midfield. Seemingly any time either of the pair got control of the ball, they were able to weave their way through traffic and set up shop down on the offensive end.
For the game, Methacton registered 10 shots on goal and generated 12 penalty corners while OJR had just four shots on goal and six penalty corners. First-year starter Molly Frey made four saves in the cage — including a huge sprawled out stop midway through the second half — to preserve her third shutout of the season.
Just under eight minutes into the second half, the Wildcats made one of their biggest offensive charges of the night. OJR was awarded a corner, and after a scrum in front of the Methacton cage, the ball trickled wide left of the cage to keep the visitors off the board.
Although they were held scoreless, Hoffman was quick to point out that the execution was there for OJR throughout.
“It was an all-around really good game,” said Hoffman. “With the exception of not scoring on our chances, we executed defensively, we executed in the midfield where we wanted to and we did a lot of the things we wanted to do.”
Cassie Mickelsavage made 10 saves in the OJR cage, and also had a little help when Sophia Murray came up with a defensive save late in the first half to keep it a one-score game.
It’s early in the season yet, but never too early to start thinking about the postseason.
After watching the past two PAC Championships from home, Owens and her Warriors teammates seem to have their heart sets on finishing this year out on the highest note yet.
“I’m excited to be taking names and taking down teams until we get to the top,” said Owens. “We’ve just got to come out strong every game.”