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North Penn girls water polo captures fifth straight state title

The North Penn girls water polo team captured their fifth straight state title this past weekend at Wilson West Lawn. (Submitted Photo)

Wilson was at home, was the higher seed, and had Miss Water Polo, Sophie Appler, on its side.

But North Penn — once again — played like champions.

The Knights overcame a 4-3 deficit in the final two minutes to earn a thrilling, 5-4 victory in the State Final this past Saturday night, as North Penn captured its fifth consecutive state title out at Wilson West Lawn High School.

The Bulldogs were gunning for their first state title in 13 years and held a 4-3 lead late, until North Penn tied it with 1 minute, 49 seconds to go.

And then, with just 11 seconds left, Claudia Thamm converted on a five-meter penalty shot to send North Penn into a frenzy and onto its fifth straight crown.

Wilson had taken a 4-3 lead on a goal by Jordan Taylor with 3:54 left in the third quarter. But the North Penn defense shut out the Bulldogs the rest of the way to tilt momentum and control to the Knights.

Two other local squads also made it out to Wilson.

Wissahickon and Upper Dublin, both enjoying landmark seasons, finished seventh and eight, respectively.

The Knights again battled their way through a tough field.

North Penn overpowered North Allegheny in the quarterfinals, winning 11-3.

It was a double hat trick for the Knights, as Thamm and Kaelan Daley scored three goals each. Madeleine Voss, Taylor Haltman, Jane Montague and Nicole Chiappa also chipped in with a goal apiece.

Anchoring the defense, Caroline Dunigan made nine saves in net.

The Knights went on to a much more defensive battle in the semifinals, holding on to beat Cumberland Valley 6-4.

Daly and Jane Montague scored twice each, and Thamm and Lizzy Koerper also connected.

Dunigan was busy in net, stopping 11 shots to preserve the two-goal victory.

And then, it was time for the State Final on Saturday evening.

North Penn, seeded second in the tournament, took on top-seeded Wilson. In a matchup of clearly the top two teams in the state, the game did not disappoint. North Penn battled its way to its seventh state title in the past eight years.

Montague found the back of the net twice, and a goal each by Thamm, Voss and Daly made sure the Knights stayed one step ahead of one of their fiercest rivals.

Dunigan stood out again, making 10 saves to help the Knights lock down the victory.

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