Owen J. Roberts still unbeaten, tops Spring-Ford 8-7

BUCKTOWN — It’s not how you start, but rather how you finish.

Down two goals with just over 20 minutes to go, the Wildcats scored four unanswered goals to stay unbeaten on the season with an 8-7 victory over Spring-Ford Wednesday night.

“We made a lot of mistakes early on and that led to some bad turnovers,’ said Owen J. head coach Joe Tornetta. “But we showed a lot of adversity. Spring-Ford is a tough team, we knew this was going to be a challenge coming in.’

Kerry Huzzard scored a game-high three goals to lead the way for OJR (4-0, 5-0) while Anna Dempsey added two more. Maddie Gebert, Morgan Stone (one assist) and Frankie Carroll each added a goal in the win.

In a win she admits wasn’t their prettiest, Huzzard believes it’s a game the team can take a lot away from.

“We got down on ourselves in the first half and we weren’t working together as a team,’ she said. “When we started working together and picking up our intensity, that’s when things started to go our way. It’s how we should look to play every game.’

For Spring-Ford (1-2, 1-3), Courtney Veisbergs and Casey Trimbur each netted two goals while Anja Sweeney, Kat Connelly (two assists) and Brianna Cirino scored once.

With the loss, the Rams have now lost three games this season all by just one goal, including an overtime loss to Boyertown on Tuesday.

“Every game has been a one-goal game so far, and it’s frustrating,’ said Spring-Ford head coach Amy Short. “We keep chipping away and playing hard. Unfortunately, we just keep coming out on the wrong side at the end.’

The Rams held a 5-2 lead late in the opening half, spearheaded by back-to-back goals from Veisbergs and a bouncer from Trimbur.

But just before the half ended, Stone flicked a pass over the net to a wide-open Gebert who scored for OJR with just 16 seconds left. The Wildcats won the draw, leading to a free position for Dempsey with no time on the clock.

But Spring-Ford goal keeper Sam Walters (five saves) shut the door on her shot attempt to hold the Rams’ lead at 5-3 going into the half.

It was the first time this season that the Wildcats had trailed at the halfway mark.

“When things aren’t going your way, it’s all about how the team responds,’ said Tornetta. “We started out really sloppy, and found ourselves in a hole because of it. I said to them at halftime ‘ now I’m going to find out what kind of character you girls have.’ And today they really showed me how much character they have.’

Huzzard opened up the scoring in the second half to bring the Wildcats within one, but Cirino answered right back 90 seconds later.

Then the Wildcats showed why they’re atop the PAC-10 and their record is still unblemished on the season.

OJR took control of possession, tallied four-straight goals, including two from Dempsey, and jumped out to an 8-6 lead with just over five minutes remaining.

“It was exactly what we needed,’ said Dempsey. “In the first half, our team was so worried about being behind, it made us flustered and we made a lot of unforced mistakes. We just needed to settle down and get back into our rhythm, and that’s exactly what we did in the second half.’

Spring-Ford upped its intensity as the clock winded down.

Sweeney netted a goal off her own rebound with 54 seconds left to bring it within one. Then the Rams gained control off the draw.

The Rams fired a few shots as time winded down, but it was the efforts of Sara Maute (seven saves) and the OJR defense that prevailed.

“I’m really proud of the way we played, especially in the second half,’ said Tornetta. “We made mistakes early in the game, but we learned from them and kept pushing. It’s the type of win that really helps shape a team down the stretch.’

And even though it was a tough loss for Spring-Ford to swallow, Short believes the Rams are headed in the right direction.

“Tonight was definitely our best performance so far,’ said Short. “I’m happy with the way we’re playing. I told the girls to use this feeling of disappointment as motivation. We still have plenty more chances to win games this season.’

NOTES: The Rams will look to stay motivated as they host West Chester-Henderson today while the Wildcats will look to keep their record unscathed against Exeter on Saturday.

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