Phoenixville blanks Owen J. Roberts, 1-0

PHOENIXVILLE – Phoenixville’s field hockey defense has been steady as a rock throughout the Phantoms’ undefeated start to the 2014 season.

That stout defense, though, has sometimes quietly overlooked by Phoenixville’s explosive offense with big game scores from Bailey Quinn and the rest of the bombers up front.

But on Wednesday afternoon, during a pivotal inter-divisional matchup, Phoenixville’s defense came through with flying colors in a 1-0 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over visiting Owen J. Roberts.

Goalkeeper Kim Rutherford (nine saves) and the back line of Allison Trafford, Gabby Duda and Carolyn Groener stood tall for Phoenixville (8-0, 13-0) against the attacking, aggressive bunch from Owen J. Roberts, especially during the second half of action.

The Wildcats (7-2, 8-5) could not dent the back of the cage, even though they held a substantial 14-4 advantage in penalty corners, with eight of them coming during the second half. Phoenixville midfielder Katie McErlean also helped defend on the corners to help the Phantoms secure the shutout of the Wildcats, who are in second place behind Perkiomen Valley in the Liberty Division.

Quinn’s school season-record 29th goal, with 4:55 remaining in the first half off an assist by Haley White, spelled the difference in the contest. Quinn broke the record of 28 that was held by former Phoenixville and Alvernia University standout Miranda Peto.

“I was having a little bit of a heart attack,’ kidded Rutherford. “We were definitely tested today. We knew coming in that they are one of the teams to beat. It proves what we know, that if we play together, we can play very well.’

A potential tying goal by Owen J. Roberts’ Madison Schaeffer, off a feed by Keeley White, with 12-plus minutes left in regulation time was disallowed by the officials. They ruled the shot rolled off her body before she tapped it in, creating illegal contact.

Phoenixville is receiving just attention from its foes in and out of the league because of its outstanding start.

“It’s nice,’ said Rutherford. “We’re finally scoring and coming together. We knew coming into the season we had the talent. It is nice to see we’re all working together. It is definitely a team effort.

“Coach (John) Tornetta tells us it starts with the defense. We connect with the midfield. Then there is no stopping our offense when we are going forward.’

Phoenixville had to cope with a lot of pressure from the likes of OJR’s twins, Corinne Gerber and Courtney Gerber, as well as Nettie Montes, White, Makena Aberle, Samantha Garritano, Graceton Griffith and Morgan Stone.

“They (Wildcats) are a solid team all the time,’ said Tornetta. “(Coach) Clarence (Jennelle) does a nice job coaching them all year-round. We told our girls to play for yourself. The only thing you can control is how hard you play and how you play. Our defense was outstanding, especially in the second half. We did not have it up at their end. They are like a brick wall back there.’

Jennelle, who is in his 12th season with the Wildcats, saw 11 players graduate from a team that reached the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Yet OJR is staying right in contention in the PAC-10 this fall.

“Phoenixville played a really nice game,’ said Jennelle. “They play to their strength, which is sending long balls to Bailey (Quinn), who is in a position to score. We could get a lot of corners, but we couldn’t get scoring opportunities with the ball.’


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