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Owen J. Roberts rolls over Boyertown, moves a step closer to state playoff berth

LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Advantage, Wildcats.

In a game that was moved to Pottsgrove High School due to weather and field conditions, Owen J. Roberts’ girls lacrosse team defeated Boyertown, 10-4, on Thursday to move on to the quarterfinals of the District 1 Class AAA playoffs.

“This wasn’t an ideal situation,” Boyertown head coach Pam Wernersbach said of playing on turf. “We have to get the game in and it’s unfortunate that our school district doesn’t have turf fields, but we’re lucky schools like (Pottsgrove) allow us to play on their fields. But in situations like this, it doesn’t give the players a chance to settle down and get comfortable.”

Boyertown’s Ashley Dierolf (10) scoops up a groundball while Owen J. Roberts’ Kylie Cahill gives chase during Thursday’s game. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

“We found out we were playing here this morning,” Wildcats head coach Casey Kellogg admitted. “But we were very excited about playing on turf. It’s not a huge difference, but it is an advantage if you’re used to practicing on turf.”

The game pitted No. 8-seeded Boyertown against No. 9 Owen J. Roberts in a rematch of last week’s Pioneer Athletic Conference championship, which OJR won, 8-6, to cap a two-day affair delayed midway through by weather.

The Wildcats move on to play in the quarterfinals of the District 1 playoffs against top-seeded Garnet Valley, who defeated Abington, 13-7.

With a win, the Wildcats would book a third straight trip to the PIAA Class AAA playoffs while a loss would drop them into the district playbacks.

Owen J. Roberts’ Sophia Murray, left, brings the ball upfield while Boyertown’s Kylie Webb gives chase. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Boyertown won the opening draw Thursday, but after a huge save from Owen J. Roberts’ goalie Cayden Jarvis on the opening possession, the Wildcats raced out to a 3-0 advantage, thanks to goals from Eloise Gebert, Danika Swech and Kelsey Kilgallon.

“I wish that made us more comfortable,” Kellogg said of the early lead. “But we’re always on edge and Boyertown is a great team. You can’t relax when playing against them.”

The Bears clawed back with a goal by Hannnah Mitchell, but still trailed, 4-1, at the half after Swech notched her second tally of the game.

“We didn’t get the right amount of movement we needed to score and their goalie was really, really good,” Wernersbach explained. “We’ve played them four times this year and that was the best she’s played yet.”

Boyertown’s Sydney Fox (1) possesses the ball while Owen J. Roberts’ Sophia Murray, right, defends during the second half Thursday. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Owen J. Roberts came out of halftime on fire, scoring twice on free-position shots. Charlotte Lasak added another goal, with an assist from Maddi Koury, and the Wildcats pushed their lead to 7-1 less than four minutes into the second half.

However, it took Jen O’Connor just nine seconds after the ensuing draw to take the ball down the field and dish it to Kristi Kada for the Bears’ second goal of the game. Wildcats’ midfielder Hannah Delahaye and Boyertown’s Amanda Diachynsky then traded goals to push the score to 8-3 midway through the second half.

Boyertown received a two-player advantage a few minutes later after yellow cards were handed to a pair of Wildcats. The Bears scored one goal in less than 12 seconds, but were unable to generate any more offense with the advantage.

“I think our defense played out of their minds tonight,” Kellogg said. “We caused a couple of turnovers when we were two men down. Anytime the ball got down to that half of the field, our defense just came up with a big play and when that happens, it really gets the rest of the team amped up.”

Boyertown’s Hannah Mitchell (11) follows through on a goal during the first half of Thursday’s District One playoff game against Owen J. Roberts. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Delahaye and Kilgallon then sealed the victory with two more goals.

Jarvis finished the day with nine saves and allowed just two goals on seven free position opportunities. Offensively, the Wildcats were led by Gebert and Swech, who combined for five of their 10 goals.

Mitchell, Kada, Diachynsky and Sydney Fox scored goals for the Bears, whose season ended on Thursday night.

“I could not be prouder of what these players have done as a group,” said Wernersbach. “They made big gains throughout the year, this is the highest seed we’ve had for districts in a long time. It’s a shame we didn’t win.”

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