PHILADELPHIA >> It’s been six years since Owen J. Roberts last made the PIAA playoffs.
So it came as no surprise the Wildcats opened play in this year’s tournament giving the impression they want to stick around for a while.
No doubt. No question.
“They do,” Roberts head coach Joe Margusity said Tuesday after seeing his club roll up a 5-0 win on Archbishop Ryan at Northeast High School. “They heard a lot about it, and they want to experience it.”
The Wildcats (21-3) rode the two-goal performances of Kenzie Milne and Mia Baumgarten — and Mahogany Willis’ major-milestone tally — past a Ryan squad coming off a Philadelphia Catholic League championship showing. Stiff defense in front of goalkeeper Samantha Hughes was also key to Roberts qualifying for a quarterfinal-round pairing Saturday against Central Dauphin.
“This is really good,” Willis said while reveling in the 100th goal of her scholastic career. “It’s great to be here.”
The rainy affair at Charles Martin Memorial Stadium — the first of a PIAA playoff tripleheader — saw Roberts set the tone just 10 minutes in. Milne rebounded a Wildcat shot and put it in at the 30:53 mark.
While that would become their ultimate game-winner, the Wildcats showed no signs of letting up. The fourth-place finisher from District 1 doubled the lead before another 10 minutes passed, Baumgarten converting a shot from about 20 yards out at the 21:24 mark.
“I think on a day like this, you have to shoot a lot,” Baumgarten said. “It was slippery and wet out there.”
The wet conditions, which increased as the afternoon went on — it was a full-blown downpour at the start of the second game between Archbishop Wood and Manheim Central in the Class 3A playoffs — didn’t prevent Willis from her date with history. She extended Roberts’ first-half 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the second with the 100th goal of her scholastic career.
“I saw it building up,” Willis said about her 36th goal of the fall. “It was good wide out.”
Willis is now four goals away from becoming Roberts’ all-time leader.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Margusity said. “It’s not about individual goals. We play the way we play.”
Prior to Willis’ century-mark tally, Baumgarten got her second with 3:04 left in the first half. She expressed little thrill about the game’s weather conditions.
“You have to play in the rain,” she said, “but the cold … as a team, we wished we didn’t have to play in it.”
“It’s been our goal to get to states from the start,” Willis, who was credited with a pair of assists, said. “We have the urge to keep going.”
Julia Dalton had the assist on Willis’ goal, and Caroline Thompson was also credited with an assist.
Statistically, Roberts held a 14-4 edge on Ryan in shots on goal, and 4-2 in corners. Ryan keeper Devon McDonald had nine saves while Roberts freshman Samantha Hughes needed to make only four stops to record the clean sheet.
NOTES >> Willis admitted to not keeping tabs on her ever-increasing goal total. “I didn’t even know I had 90,” she said. “It wasn’t necessarily a goal of mine.” … Willis on the advantage Roberts — a team accustomed to playing on turf — had on the Martin Memorial Stadium’s artificial surface, particularly under wet conditions: “We know it slips a lot. You have to take it like every touch matters.”
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