Willis nets 3 in streaking Owen J. Roberts’ 7-2 win over Upper Perkiomen

BUCKTOWN >> Being the top goalscorer in the Pioneer Athletic Conference doesn’t mean the shots are going to find twine every night.

Owen J. Roberts' Mahogany Willis (9) is congratulated by Kilee McCloud after scoring a goal against Upper Perkiomen Thursday. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Owen J. Roberts’ Mahogany Willis (9) is congratulated by Kilee McCloud after scoring a goal against Upper Perkiomen Thursday. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

Fortunately for the Owen J. Roberts girls soccer team, it is blessed with more than one player who can score a goal.

It’s shown to be true throughout this season and certainly did Thursday night in a 7-2 victory over Upper Perkiomen where sophomore Mahogany Willis netted a hat trick and sophomore Morgan Shronk scored two goals and had an assist to run the Wildcats’ winning streak to eight games.

“We’re fortunate to have a bevy of goalscorers,” OJR coach Joe Margusity said. “We have the two top ones in the league and we have Morgan who is an engine on the other side. You pick your poison. Who do you shut down?”

That’s a question many teams have asked this season.

Owen J. Roberts (7-2 PAC-10, 10-3 overall) also got scoring contributions from Kylie Cahill and an assist from Caroline Thompson. The aforementioned PAC-10 leading scorer, Emilie Kupsov, still managed a goal and an assist. A great night by most standards, a modest output for Kupsov who boosted her total to 18 goals and 10 assists and is charging toward the PAC-10 scoring record of 34 goals set by past Owen J. greats Laura Kane and Stacy Blevins, who scored 34 goals each in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

Upper Perkiomen got its scoring from standout midfielder Mackenzie Gebhardt, which tied the game 1-1 in the early going, and Megan Ritting in the second half on a free kick Kayleigh Durning.

OJR’s Willis shined in the first half Thursday by having a part in five goals, netting three herself while her driven shots and crosses that couldn’t be collected by the Upper Perkiomen goalkeeper on a slick, rainy night at OJR set up two poacher’s goals for Shronk.

Owen J. Roberts' Kenzie Milne (14) and Upper Perkiomen's Alyssa Long (24) compete for possession Thursday. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Owen J. Roberts’ Kenzie Milne (14) and Upper Perkiomen’s Alyssa Long (24) compete for possession Thursday. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

The sophomore speedster has 15 goals and two assists, second-best in the league, but any visions of a scoring competition between teammates isn’t in her eyes.

“If we score, we win,” Willis said with a chuckle. “That’s what I’m going for. Scoring means we win. It doesn’t matter who scores.”

The Wildcats’ improved build-up play is what Willis believes has made OJR such a formidable attacking force.

“Not only just the forwards, but we are building up from the back and playing feet to feet, instead of jump bombing it to Morgan and I like last year,” Willis said. “This year we are trying to build up gradually to get to us and especially Kuppy (Kupsov) because she can take players 1-on-1.”

With OJR running so well of late, the final scoreline is harsh on Upper Perkiomen (3-6, 4-7), which got valuable contributions from Gebhardt, Helena Buhrgard and Hannah Leight and competed well to the final whistle. The Indians are well within reach of a PAC-10 playoff spot out of the Frontier Division, just behind Phoenixville (4-4).

Since a humbling 5-0 loss to reigning PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford on Sept. 17, Kupsov moved to center forward and the Wildcats having been running wild, including an eye-opening 7-0 win over last year’s league finalist Pope John Paul II.

Owen J. Roberts' Emilie Kupsov plays the ball upfield as Upper Perkiomen's Mackenzie Gebhardt chases during Thursday's game. (Austin Hertzog - The Mercury)
Owen J. Roberts’ Emilie Kupsov plays the ball upfield as Upper Perkiomen’s Mackenzie Gebhardt chases during Thursday’s game. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

“There are still things that need to be worked out,” Margusity said. “But when we switched around the personnel after Spring-Ford, I think that really helped to make the midfield defensively more athletic and put Kupsov 10 yards closer to goal. And I think the players understanding their roles so quickly – if I had done that last year it would have thrown off the balance.

“I see them taking adversity a lot more in stride than last year. We’d have incredible highs and incredible lows. This year it’s more even-keel.”

NOTES >> The scoring came fast and furious in the first half, four goals scored in just over 12 minutes. … Upper Perk scored a goal every time they put the ball on frame, their two shots leading to both goals. … UP goalkeeper Rachel Morelli made 10 saves. Owen J. Roberts’ Kiera McCloud and Meghan Kirkbride split time in goal but neither had a save. … OJR led in shots 17-2 and corners 5-2.





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