No. 5 Owen J. Roberts upset by Downingtown West in first round

BUCKTOWN — It’s a tendency that has haunted the Wildcats all season long.

But it’s a result they’ve only faced one time this season.

On Tuesday afternoon, No. 5 seeded Owen J. Roberts found itself in a hole it couldn’t overcome, eventually suffering an 8-6 upset loss to No. 28 Downingtown West in the first round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs at Henry J. Bernat Field.

With the win, the Whippets will have a second round contest with No. 12 Souderton, who defeated Kennett 18-12 on Tuesday afternoon.

The Wildcats let up five unanswered goals and struggled to control possession of the ball throughout the opening half.

“That wasn’t the same team I’ve seen play all year,’ said Owen J. Roberts head coach Joe Tornetta of his team’s performance. “We made way too many mistakes, and didn’t take care of the ball. We had plenty of scoring chances and had the shots, we just couldn’t convert.’

Despite completing an undefeated season in the Pioneer Athletic Conference en route to the PAC-10 Championship last Thursday, Tornetta admits the loss on Tuesday puts a damper on what had been such a successful season.

“It was a great season, but a terrible finish,’ said Tornetta. “The girls worked so hard;they came back in games and showed tons of heart throughout the year. But this loss will be hard to forget.’

Junior Maddie Gebert admits that her team should still be proud of what they accomplished this season, even though it ended in a disappointing fashion.

“I’m proud of my whole team,’ she said. “It was an amazing journey up to this point from beating Boyertown in our second game of the season, all the way to winning PAC-10’s.’

Kerry Huzzard led the Wildcats with three goals while Gebert had two and Morgan Stone scored once.

Devon Hennessey made seven saves in net.

For Downingtown West, Ryan McKinney scored four goals, followed by two from Drew McKinney and a goal apiece from Emma Cooper and Avery Kelly. Claire Foster and Mackenzie Miller combined for eight saves in goal to preserve the Whippets lead throughout.

“The girls gave everything they had from the opening whistle until the very end,’ said Downingtown West head coach Britt Long. “Even though we knew we had a really tough challenge, the girls came into it with a ton of confidence.’

Despite Huzzard scoring the first goal of the game, Downingtown East netted the next five goals before taking a 6-2 lead into the half.

The Wildcats began to make their push throughout the second half, scoring the final three goals in the closing 16 minutes, including a beautiful give-and-go from Huzzard to Gebert with just under eight minutes to go.

But their efforts proved too little, too late, even after pulling Hennessey from the net, just to have an extra attack on the field.

“We worked hard to get ourselves back into it toward the end,’ said Tornetta. “But we just found ourselves in too deep of a deficit.’

“After this win today, we’ve definitely got a lot of confidence for the second round,’ said Long. “Owen J. Roberts is a really strong team with a ton of talented players. I’m excited to see what our team can do.’

Although their successful season comes to a screeching end, the Wildcats boast a roster that represents a bright future.

With just one regular starter (Morgan Stone) set to graduate, and leading scorers Gebert and Huzzard set to return for their senior season, the Wildcats will only look to improve by next season.

“I’m disappointed with the way it ended,’ said Gebert. “But this gives us motivation to work hard this offseason so we can come back even stronger next year.’

“I hope the girls learn from this and bring it into next season,’ said Tornetta. “We did a ton of good things this year, but there’s nothing to be fully satisfied about. We have to remember this feeling and use it as motivation.’

NOTES — Rachel Sharpe had an assist for Owen J. Roberts while Maddie Claffey had two for Downingtown West.

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