Lower Dauphin routs Phoenixville 6-0 in PIAA-AAA opener

HERSHEY — Even as Lower Dauphin poured in six goals on Phoenixville in a 6-0 drubbing of the Phantoms in the PIAA-AAA opening round, there was no sense of hopelessness once the final horn sounded.

No tears, no hung heads — no sense of despair.

Only because what Phoenixville had already accomplished was valiant.

A berth into the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2001 and two school records shattered — all coming in a season in which the team moved up to the Class AAA level — quelled any anguish that might have been felt after Tuesday’s season-ending loss.

Lower Dauphin’s Maddie O’Neill scored a hat trick, including the opening two markers in a minute-span, and provided an assist while a Falcons roster filled with a bevy of Division I and Division II prospects took Phoenixville to task, racking up 16 penalty corners and 14 shots while limiting the Phantoms to just two and one, respectively.

Joely Helder, Taylor Bracale and Abby Julius also scored for the Falcons, who advance to play Penn Manor in the second round Saturday.

“We were pressuring the ball, marking tighter but we got a little lax and allowed the two goals there (back-to-back goals in first half),’ Phoenixville head coach John Tornetta said. “You could just see that our attitude went down a little bit but we were great in the beginning.

“They just have too much ammo, it seemed like anywhere they put the ball they had girls that could handle it extremely well. They had connections all over the field.’

It was just business for the two-time defending champ Falcons, as they improved to 24-1 on the season. They’ve outscored their opponents 19-0 since the beginning of their District 3 championship run.

But for Tornetta and a senior class that comprised 13, the memories from this game won’t be the final score, but the experience of playing at the state level.

“We told them, ‘ You’re not going to remember the score or anything; you are just going to remember making it to states.’ That’s what this is all about. All of our seniors got experience, but the memories that they made tonight will be great.’

Despite being silenced on the scoresheet, Quinn ended her season with 41 goals — shattering the school record of 28 held by Mirando Peto.

Quinn, an Old Dominion recruit finished her illustrious season with 94 career goals.

“We worked really hard since preseason,’ Quinn said. “We had a really good team, we knew that since Day 1. This season was amazing, my teammates were amazing and I won’t forget them.’

That team rattled off a school-best 20 wins in 2014, while TJ Jefferis, (nine goals), Katie McErlean (13 goals) and Bishop Shanahan transfer Haley White (seven goals, five assists) helped the Phantoms outscore their opposition 90-32 during the season.

The Phantoms secured another PAC-10 playoff berth, but fell to Owen J. Roberts in the semifinals. They rebounded with wins over Quakertown and Avon Grove before topping Perkiomen Valley in the playback round to reach their first state tournament in 13 years.

“This team is different,’ said White, who attended Phoenixville as a freshman. “I connected with them better and I’m glad that we got this far.’

“We’re all great friends,’ Jefferis said. “We loved going to practice and it showed during games, we all connected well. It’ll be sad when we’re gone but it was great how well we were able to play this season.’

Despite the loss, the Phantoms can relish in being the last PAC-10 team standing.

“We always gave it our all, no matter what the score is,’ Allison Trafford said. “We pushed through this whole season as a team.’

“We took it one game at a time,’ said Carolyn Groener. “We gave it our all and in the end we had a great season.’

One for the record books.

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