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Field Hockey: Owen J. Roberts vs. Perkiomen Valley PAC championship preview

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If not for Perkiomen Valley, the Owen J. Roberts field hockey might be the ones with the undefeated record.

The Wildcats are out to return the favor to unbeaten Perkiomen Valley with the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship sweetening the pot when the two face off in the title game Thursday night, 7 p.m. at Upper Perkiomen.

Breaking down the matchup of No. 3 seed Owen J. Roberts and No. 1 Perkiomen Valley:

Records >> Perkiomen Valley: 10-0 PAC Liberty; 19-0 overall; Owen J. Roberts: 8-2 PAC Liberty; 17-2 overall

How They Got Here >> Danielle Hamm notched a hat trick in the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinal, lifting the Vikings to a 3-2 comeback win over Upper Perkiomen Tuesday night. Perk Valley trailed 1-0 fifteen minutes into regulation but a pair of goals in a 90-second span gave PV a lead that it would never again give back to preserve their unbeaten record.

Owen J. Roberts kept on its torrid pace of late with a 6-0 shutout of Phoenixville in the PAC semifinal Tuesday night. Utilizing a balanced attack on offense, OJR is now amid an 8-game win streak while outscoring the opposition 44-2 during that run.

Perkiomen Valley’s Danielle Hamm (30) possesses the ball while Spring-Ford’s Ashley Sessa closes in to defend. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Head-to-Head >> Both regular season matchups were settled in overtime with Perk Valley claiming a 2-1 win. Saige Steele and Gabby Martina were credited with the game-winners in each respective game, with Danielle Hamm providing assists on both deciding goals.

Playoff history >> This will be the fourth time since 2011 that Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley meet in the PAC title bout. Most recently, Owen J. Roberts got revenge on Perkiomen Valley with a 3-1 win in the 2015 championship game. That put an end to the Vikings’ repeat hopes after they beat the Wildcats 2-0 in 2014.

Owen J. Roberts’ Natalie Fuertsch follows through on a goal from the top of the circle during Tuesday’s PAC semifinal game against Phoenixville. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

On Owen J. Roberts >> The Wildcats certainly have the championship pedigree on their side, now making their sixth straight trip to the PAC championship game and their 10th in the last 12 seasons. OJR has a balanced attack with talented skill players all over the field including Sophia Murray, Jenna Kirby, Natalie Fuertsch, Eloise Gebert and Raina Smolij among several others, all of whom can score/distribute seemingly at will. Cayden Jarvis has been solid in goal when called upon, with 10 shutouts to her credit in the cage this season.

On Perkiomen Valley >> Senior Gabby Martina is perhaps the most talented player in the PAC. However, slowing down the Vikings calls for more than just keying in on the talented forward. Danielle Hamm, Saige Shine, Katie Wuerstle and Kelly Baitinger have emerged several times for Perk Valley this fall. The Vikings also boast a noticeably deep lineup, enabling them to go 12-13 deep and keep fresh legs on the field virtually at all times. For the year, Perk Valley has allowed just 12 goals against with 10 shutouts and is 6-0 in games decided by one goal.

Prediction >> Hard to pick against an unbeaten team. Perkiomen Valley 3, Owen J. Roberts 2.

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