Latoff, Sykes score first goals in PJP’s win over Pottsgrove

Upper Providence — With playoff aspirations having dwindled, there wasn’t much to play for as Pope John Paul II and Pottsgrove clashed on Wednesday afternoon.

However, a series of firsts highlighted an otherwise one-sided game as the Golden Panthers stormed out to a three-goal second half en route to a 4-0 victory over the Falcons.

Kendra Sykes and Erin Latoff scored their first goals of the season while Abbie Togno and Steph Petery (two assists) also found the back of the cage in the winning effort.

“We’ve grown so much over this season,’ Togno said. “I remember the first day of preseason none of us really knew each other, we didn’t talk to each other on the field. This game we showed that we have grown to work together. We changed the field a lot, we communicated a lot.’

“We had a better team effort this game,’ Sykes added. “This game we communicated a lot more and we deserved to get this win.’

The Golden Panthers dominated all aspects of the game, outshooting the Falcons 13-2 while also winning the advantage in penalty corners, 13-11.

Despite the loss, Pottsgrove head coach Christine Campbell was pleased with the way her frontline, highlighted by Alyssa O’Neill and Imanye Delay, played in the first half.

“I saw some good things from them in the first half,’ Campbell said. “In the first half we were in it.’

The Falcons just couldn’t find the back of the cage, which spelled good fortune for the Golden Panthers.

Togno was first to add a tally to the scoreboard as she became the benefactor of a fortuitous bounce after a Jackie Lerro blast from the top of the circle deflected off Petery and onto the stick of Togno. She took a few jabs at it in traffic before finally pushing it past two Pottsgrove defenders and into the shallow portion of the cage.

That score stood until Petery found the back of the cage forty seconds into the second half as she took a Lerro pass and blasted it from the top of the circle. Sykes then chipped in her first marker on the season courtesy of a Petery assist before Latoff sealed the scoring with her marker coming off a penalty stroke attempt.

“I’ve been close all year,’ Sykes said. “The first time you score a goal, it’s very exciting.’

“Scoring my first goal felt good, especially because it came on a penalty stroke,’ added Latoff, who was playing in only her second game this season due to a viral infection. “It puts a lot of pressure on you.’

The Golden Panthers are back in action Friday with a non-league match against Conwell-Egan, while Pottsgrove travels to Pottstown for a divisional clash at 3:45 p.m.

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