Gebert’s seven goals lead Owen J. Roberts over Phoenixville

PHOENIXVILLE — Their monikers are two of the most prominent ones in the rich legacy of Phoenixville men’s and women’s athletics.

Thornton and Tornetta.

In this one, it was Phoenixville graduate and Temple University Hall of Famer Aamina Thornton and her Phoenixville girls lacrosse team hosting Phoenixville graduate Joe Tornetta, first-year head coach of the undefeated Owen J. Roberts girls lacrosse squad, after a long, storied three-sport coaching career at Great Valley High School, at Washington Field.

Tornetta has the Wildcats on top in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division with a 7-0 record (11-0 overall) following a 15-6 victory over Phoenixville. Maddie Gebert paced Owen J. Roberts with seven goals, and the Wildcats also had three more goal scorers. Anna Dempsey finished with three goals and one assist while Kerry Huzzard had three goals plus two assists. Morgan Stone ended up with two goals and two assists, and Anna Lavelle chipped in with one assist.

Thornton has the Phantoms in first place in the Frontier Division with a 4-4 mark (5-5 overall).

Zoe Bullotta topped Phoenixville with three goals while Carolyn Groener, Alyssa Neppach and Natalie Rubino had single tallies. Kendall Beatty chipped in with one assist.

Phantoms goalie Megan Nemeth wound up with nine saves while Wildcats goalie Sara Maute recorded seven saves.

Phoenixville’s Groener scored the first goal of the contest at 24:49 of the first half, but it was the Wildcats who responded with seven unanswered goals to take a 7-1 halftime lead. Huzzard scored the first OJR goal with a move from behind the net at 18:22 to tie the game, and Gebert scored the next three in a row in a five-minute span to give the ‘˜Cats a 4-1 lead at the 11:21 mark.

Stone assisted on Gebert’s first score, and then came a free position goal by Gebert at 14:52 and an unassisted Gebert goal at 11:21. The Wildcats took control of the game from that point forward and established a running clock with a 10-goal lead at 14-4 with 11:50 showing in the second half on the third goal of the game by Dempsey.

“We do have a good thing going,’ said Dempsey, a sophomore attacker. “We play as a team a lot, too. I think it’s working, especially with Coach T (Tornetta). We were nervous. We had not known him even a month before the season started. He worked really hard to get us where we are.

“A lot of us have played together for a while. Everyone is doing really well. We are talking on the field and using connections as much as we can. We have a really good younger class. We have strong people.’

Courtney Gerber is a junior defender in the Wildcats’ alignment.

“I really like him (Tornetta),’ said Gerber. “We are really learning a lot from him. Our team is totally turning it around with him. Right now, we are just beginning.’

Gerber began her lacrosse career as a midfielder before shifting to defense two years ago.

“I like the footwork that is involved with it and the body position. The body positioning helps you throughout your game.’

Even though he has been a longtime coach in the Ches-Mont League while at Great Valley, Tornetta has not lost touch with the PAC-10 coaches, programs and players to watch. That knowledge has enabled him to make the fast impact at Owen J. Roberts.

Same old Joe. Still loves coaching his sport and loves his players. Still hollers a lot with a definite purpose in mind. Still wins.

Tornetta praised Thornton for the job she is doing with the Phantoms in the small-school division, where there is not as much depth in personnel across the board to work with.

“I think Phoenixville has a strong team,’ said Tornetta. “They have some nice players. Aamina is doing a great job with them.’

He applauded all of the coaches around the circuit for making PAC-10 girls lacrosse competitive and strong.

“It’s another tale of two halves,’ said Thornton. “The second half was 5-8 so we played better. I need us to be settled in, not in the second half, but right in the first half and continue on. We do not want to dig out of a hole, not six goals.

“I do like how we are staying in the game, even in the beginning. We held up; we were knocking balls down; we were moving and fighting. Megan (Nemeth) is always ready to play.’

NOTES — The Phoenixville Area School District continues to mourn the death earlier this week of social studies teacher Shelly Sobel following a bout with breast cancer. … Phoenixville athletic director Matt Gionta said Phantom girls lacrosse players had pink on their sticks, and Phoenixville’s baseball players, who hosted Methacton, wore pink on their wristbands. … The Owen J. Roberts girls lacrosse squad showed its support of the Phantoms’ cause by wearing pink jerseys during pre-game warmups. … Tornetta is assisted by Jessica Stevens, Kristen Gregory and Colleen O’Malley.

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