RADNOR – Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) senior Maddy Terry is all of 5-foot-2. And yet she is charged with keeping the ball out of the net for the Lady Eagles soccer team.
On penalty kicks, the player taking the scoring chance stands just 11 yards away, aiming for a goal that is 24 feet wide and eight feet high and the only defender is the goalie.
That’s a lot of space to cover for anyone, much less the 5-2 Terry. In Thursday’s battle with Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) rival Archbishop Carroll, the 12th-grader successfully blocked one of two PK opportunities awarded the Patriots, the first one coming with no time showing on the first-half clock.
Terry explains her method to blocking just such a shot.
“I look at how the girl lines up – where she’s facing towards the net – and as she takes her first two steps forward, I make a quick decision and hope I pick the right side,” said Terry.
On Carroll’s first penalty kick, taken by freshman Kayla DeMola, Terry guessed right, diving to her left and deflecting the shot away from the upper righthand side of the net, preserving a 3-0 lead the Eagles mounted in the first half.
“Between myself and the defense, we just wanted to keep everything out of the net,” added Terry. “We didn’t want to give them any glimmer of hope going into halftime and throughout the second half.”
As fate would have it, the Patriots were awarded yet another penalty kick in the first 30 seconds of the second half. This time, AC junior Paige Mastripolito put the ball past Terry, hitting the lower left side of the net and cutting Egan’s lead to two with 39 minutes still to play.
“I was trying to decide if she was going to go to the same side again or if she was going to change it up,” explained Terry. “I just made my decision a half-second too late so she was able to squeak that one by me.
“Saving two PKs in one game can be a tall order so I’m happy I could save the one.”
Instead of getting rattled by the Patriots’ goal early in the second half, the Eagles went back to work, offensively. Sixteen minutes later, CEC junior Chloe Grabowski got her foot on the end of a cross, re-gaining the three-goal cushion Egan enjoyed earlier.
CEC senior Mackensie Michaels capped off her game with a looping shot she booted into the back of the net on a free kick from 35 yards out with just 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
“In games previous to this one, we tended to panic, especially when they would score early like that,” said Terry.
“Today, I think we were able to manage our composure better than we normally do. Once we put two more (goals) into the back of the net, I knew we’d be fine.”
The 5-1 triumph was Egan’s second win of the season and just the first facing a PCL opponent. Last week, the girls lost a pair of games to Archbishop Ryan and Lansdale Catholic by a combined 13-0 margin.
This week saw a 1-0 loss to Archbishop Wood together with this win, ironically, the first road game of the season for the Eagles. That actually worked in CEC’s favor against Carroll, said Michaels, who scored in the first minute of the contest.
“We’ve kind of been in a funk and we just needed to get our heads out of it,” said Mackensie. “This is our first away game in a long time and I think it was good to get on to a new field and get a new mindset and a positive attitude.
“It was good to get away from Egan, focus on our team and work on what we needed to work on.
“We were able to really get our heads in the game and work together and that really made a difference.”
Sparking the Eagles with a pair of goals early in the first half were senior Allie Wojton, who scored on one of her signature free kicks from 20 yards out and junior Theresa Richardson, who got her foot on the end of a cross in front of the net two minutes later.
Michaels thinks the victory over the Pats will inspire the Egan team moving forward.
“This is a huge win,” said Michaels. “It’s really going to help us out in the games ahead of us.
“We really needed this win and we got it. We’re going to be able to work off of it and keep this mindset going.”
While the Eagles also got off to a slow start last year, it was right around this time that the team got onto a roll, winning eight straight PCL matchups before falling to Saint Hubert’s in the league quarterfinals.
The difference this year is that Egan won all those games on their home turf. This year, the second half of the season is on the road so the Eagles will have to be road warriors if they are to repeat the accomplishments of last year’s team, which won its fifth straight District 12 title and earned a berth in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals with a 3-2 first round win over Notre Dame East Stroudsburg.
“We were actually trying not to repeat last year and now, it looks like we’re heading in the same direction,” said Michaels. “Hopefully, it turns out the same as last year and we’ll be able to keep the wins going.
“We were home warriors last year; we’re going to be road warriors this year,” added CEC head coach Andrzej “Andy” Adamiec.
Injuries have hurt Egan’s cause this season including a knee injury suffered early in the season by freshman standout Olivia Gentile, a forward who scored twice in a scrimmage with New Hope-Solebury and again in a 2-1 overtime loss to Lower Moreland.
Additionally, sophomore defenders Grace Terry (broken foot) and Taiylor Bussey (knee) are out of the lineup with injuries, though both could be back for the start of the postseason.
TOP PHOTO: Conwell-Egan Catholic senior goalkeeper Maddy Terry stopped on of two penalty kicks by the home team Archbishop Carroll and made nine saves, helping to preserve a 5-1 victory for the visiting Eagles Sept. 21 on AC’s campus in Radnor. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
Conwell-Egan 5, Archbishop Carroll 1
(Sept. 21 at Archbishop Carroll)
CONWELL-EGAN (2-6, 1-4: PCL) 3 2 – 5
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (3-4, 2-3: PCL) 0 1 – 1
First-Half Goals: C-E — Mackensie Michaels (first minute), Allie Wojton (18th minute), Theresa Richardson (20th minute); AC — none.
Second-Half Goals: AC — Kayla DeMola; C-E — Chloe Grabowski (47th minute), Michaels (70th minute).
SHOTS: AC — 10; CE — 11.
SAVES: AC — Grace Gallagher 2, Gina Hoenig 4; CE — Maddy Terry 9.