Episcopal Academy ousts Germantown Academy

NEWTOWN SQUARE — Episcopal Academy kept the fire burning hot on Thursday in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association field hockey semifinals while Germantown Academy got left out in the cold. The 5-1 victory for Episcopal sets up the PAISAA championship on Saturday against the Academy of Notre Dame, while the Patriots’ season comes to a close.

“I thought today we generated a lot of offense, we moved the ball well, took the ball at speed and really set up some great scoring opportunities,’ said Episcopal coach Gina Buggy.

The biggest disparity came in the form of corners, with Episcopal outdoing GA 15-2 on the attack.

What the Lady Churchmen did was apply consistent pressure to the Patriots defense. Second chance goals were at a premium thanks to skilled stick handlers that worked forward and gave the Episcopal midfield and backs an opportunity to move upward and throw bodies at the goal.

“They just have so many good stick handlers that they’re able to keep control of the ball,’ said Germantown Academy coach Ginny Hofmann. “Ashley Piszek, our goalie, had an outstanding game, she kept us completely in the game with every save she made.’

Lexi Fischer struck twice early in the first half, both times assisted by Margaux Paolino, whose stick handling drew the awe and ire of her Germantown Academy counterparts as Paolino gave the Patriots continued headaches running the offense.

Fischer’s second goal came at the 18:59 mark in the first half in the form of loose change. She hung around the weakside of the goal, putting her in perfect position for when Paolino’s shot deflected right to Fischer who put it home with ease.

“They’re obviously the best team I’ve played throughout my four years here,’ Piszek said. “Their sticks were really fast and their passing really crisp, it made it really hard to intercept anything.’

The Churchmen’s ability to generate offense early produce a pretty easy second half for Episcopal, who instead of throwing everyone at the goal as they did in the first half, were able to play keep-away and kept defenders back. Germantown Academy struggled to get the numbers they need at the Episcopal net, mostly relying on the fast break for their scoring opportunities.

“They keep three people back and we have quick forwards,’ Hofmann said. “We were trying to get on the fast break and make something happen.’

GA midfielder Allie McCrossen scored on one of her team’s two corner attempts, putting a rebound home to make the score 2-1 with 16:56 left in the first half.

But the Churchmen responded less than seven minutes later when Maddie Bacskai scored on a penalty shot that she lofted over Piszek’s glove into the upper-90. Paolino scored her first goal of the game — to go with her two assists — with two minutes remaining in the first half. And Bacskai got her second goal of the game with two minutes left in the game to finish the scoring for the Churchmen.

Episcopal and Notre Dame will play at The Hill School on Saturday, Nov. 13 for the PAISAA championship, time to be announced.

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