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Notre Dame too much for Germantown Academy, wins 2nd straight PAISAA title

Germantown Academy goalie Hannah Santos works to stay in front of Academy of Notre Dame’s Mia Leonhardt during the PAISAA championship game at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

PLYMOUTH >> The Germantown Academy field hockey team knew it was facing an uphill battle in the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association state championship game.

The Patriots were taking on undefeated Notre Dame, the winners of the Inter-Ac in 2016 and 2017 and 2016 state champs.

The Irish made it back-to-back state titles. Notre Dame beat Germantown Academy for the third time this season, 10-2, Wednesday at the Proving Grounds in Plymouth Township.

“We had to stop their breakaways early,” GA coach Jackie Connard said of the recipe to try to hand the Irish their first loss. “We definitely had to improve our defensive marking in the circle, which we didn’t do and that killed us. They’re really strong coming down the right side of the field and sending the cross balls across to the left and that’s how they get a lot of their goal. We needed to capitalize on our corners. We didn’t do that today, unfortunately.”

Germantown Academy’s Colleen Carrigan battles Academy of Notre Dame’s Bell McHugh for possession of the ball during the PAISAA final at The Proving Grounds on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

The Irish scored their first goal midway through the first half and less than four minutes later it was 3-0. They added a fourth goal with two minutes left before halftime.

Notre Dame added three goals in the first 10:10 of the second half to go up 7-0. The Inter-Ac rivals traded the next three goals to make it 8-2 before the Irish knocked two more home.

Mia Leonhardt scored six goals for Notre Dame, Lauren Curran three and Sarah Jane Quigley one.

GA’s goals came from freshman Sophie Towne and senior Maddie Cooper. It was Towne’s fifth goal in the last four games and Cooper’s first score of the season.

The Patriots goalkeeper Hannah Santos kept her side in the game early on. She made six saves — including a couple highlight-reel stops — before Notre Dame scored its first goal.

A loss in the season finale doesn’t diminish what the Patriots accomplished this fall. They beat Episcopal Academy for the first time in 10 years and made it to the state championship game for the first time in 10 years.

Germantown Academy’s Jordan Roche advances the ball near Academy of Notre Dame’s Lauren Curran during the PAISAA final at The Proving Grounds on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“Before the game, I told them this was historic,” Connard said. “This was the first time our team’s been here in 10 years, first time we beat Episcopal in 10 years. With those two facts, we’ve got something special here.

“That win against Episcopal emotionally was huge for us. I think going into next year that will be something we point back to and realize we can stick with any team on any given day, hopefully including Notre Dame.”

GA looks to be strong next year. The 2017 team used two freshman and seven sophomores that will return with more experience and a taste of state championship action.

Notre Dame 10, Germantown Academy 2
Germantown Academy 0 2 — 2
Notre Dame 4 6 — 10
Goals: GA: Sophie Towne, Maddie Cooper. ND: Mia Leonhardt 6, Lauren Curran 3, Sarah Jane Quigley.
Assists: ND: Tina D’Anjolell, Lauren Curran 3.
Saves: GA: Hannah Santos 11. ND: Katie Liebeskind 3.

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