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Mount St. Joseph loses heart-breaker to Villa Maria

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SPRINGFIELD >> Mount Saint Joseph Academy had Villa Maria Academy right where it wanted.

The Magic led by two goals with six minutes left and the Hurricanes were playing down a player after captain Mary Harkins was carded for giving the referee too much feedback.

Villa’s Adele Iacobucci scored off a penalty corner while playing short-handed and Meg Dillon found the back of the cage off a corner with no time remaining to send the game to overtime.

With 50 seconds left in the extra session, Villa captain Hannah Miller stick-handled through defenders and beat the goalie with a backhanded shot to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 Athletic Association of Catholic Academies win over the Magic Tuesday afternoon at Mount St. Joseph Academy.

“In the whole entire overtime we knew we had to just stick to our plan,” Miller said, “which was to work together, go at the outside and eventually in the middle. I’m just happy I got to put it away for the team, but it was a complete team effort and I would have never gotten that goal without my teammates behind me.”

The Magic had plenty of chances to score in overtime. Two separate times they connected on long passes to get a 2-on-1 and beat the goalie, but couldn’t score. The first time Harkins made a player save and the second time the shot went wide. They also beat the goalie on a penalty corner, but the pass to the far post was too hot to handle and couldn’t be put on net.

“Just finishing,” Mount coach Sue Wentzel said. “It could go either way in overtime. It almost doesn’t matter who has more chances, it’s who finishes.”

The Mount took a 4-2 lead midway through the second half when Elizabeth Maransky found Erin McGinley for the score.

That advantage held until 6:01, when Iacobucci ripped a shot to the back off the cage of a Miller insert pass.

“We knew we had to work together and never give up,” Miller said. “That’s the mentality we have. From the beginning of the game we just stayed strong and played our game. We didn’t let any of the calls or the opposing goals get against us. We just stuck to our plan and it worked out.”

“It’s tough,” Wentzel said. “I know my seniors especially have been wanting this for a really long time and we just played them Friday. Games can go either way. I thought my team fought extremely hard, though, I really do.”

The Hurricanes earned a string of corners — they totaled 15 in the game — in the final minute, trailing, 4-3. It appeared the game was over when one of the shots went over the Magic cage with no time on the clock, but it was ruled that the ball was tipped by the defense — which is a dangerous play and results in another corner.

On the ensuing play, Miller sent the insert pass to Iacobucci, who took a low shot that was deflected into the cage by Dillon to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“We all knew what we had to do — get the ball in the back of the cage,” Miller said. “We’ve been practicing corners a lot at practice. We’re just so glad that it was able to pay off. We knew what we had to do and that was get the ball in the back of the cage and we all worked together to do it. The insert to the tip in was everybody — team effort.”

Villa scored the first two goals of the game. Miller got on the board first and Annie Shaw doubled the lead to 2-0.

The Mount responded with three goals in a 6:29 stretch. Haley Cliggett scored the first before Julianna Kratz tied the game at two and gave the Magic the lead, 3-2.

The win essentially locks up the Catholic Academies title for Villa. VMA is undefeated in league play and the Mount has two losses — both at the hands of the Hurricanes over the last five days.

“It’s the first step in our road to the championship and to states,” Miller said. “I feel like it really gave us the confidence we need to keep on pushing. We’re not stopping now. We’re going to keep going and this is just the beginning for us.”

The Magic are confident they will see VMA again in the District 1 Class-2A playoffs.

“I think we’ll get them back when it counts, which is all the way at the top,” Wentzel said. “I see us facing each other later and that’s where I think we are going to swipe it out from under them.”

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