Owen J. Roberts captures long-awaited PAC-10 Championship

RED HILL >> The time was finally theirs.

After watching their opponent hoist the Pioneer Athletic Conference plaque the past two seasons, the Wildcats knew their time was near.

With hearts set and seniors playing for the title one last time, Owen J. Roberts defeated Perkiomen Valley, 3-1, in the PAC-10 Championship on Thursday night at Upper Perkiomen’s Indian Stadium.

“It’s awesome,” said first year Owen J. Roberts head coach Amy Hoffman. “They’ve heard it for four years — ‘they’re a great class, they’re a great group’ — but this solidifies that for them. They really are a great class and they can do anything when they work together and just play.”

O.J.R. #16 Keeley White pushes ball by Perk Valley defender #18 Natalie Johnston.
Owen J. Roberts’ Keeley White pushes the ball past  Perkiomen Valley defender Natalie Johnston. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

Corinne Gerber was a part of those past two teams.

And she was determined her senior season would be different.

“As seniors this is what we wanted, this is what we’ve worked for all season,” said Gerber. “When we lost to (Perkiomen Valley) in this game last year, it was one of the worst games we played all season. We knew this was a game we needed to win.”

Gerber scored twice while also assisting on Keeley White’s eventual game-winner with 9:08 left in regulation.

As a senior, White knew she needed to capitalize on what would be last shot attempt in PAC-10 play.

“It was my last chance as a senior to win PAC-10’s, so I needed to find an opening in the defense,” she said. “Losing it last year was hard, but winning it this year against PV is redemption. Once we got the lead, we knew we just had to contain them for the rest of the game.”

Despite each team tallying 13 penalty corners on the night, OJR goalkeeper Amanda Lamb made the difference in the cage.

The senior posted five saves in goal, including three big stops on consecutive corner tries early in the opening half. The only shot that got past was a beautiful setup from PV’s Kelsey Giese to Laura Shelton with just over a minute left in the first half.

O.J.R. #6 Corinne Gerber moves ball upfield as Perk Valley #26 Haley Streeper defends.
Owen J. Roberts’ senior Corinne Gerber, right, moves the ball upfield as Perkiomen Valley’s Haley Streeper defends. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

“It took four years, but we finally got it,” Lamb said. “They were definitely coming in (toward the net) a lot faster than they usually were during the season. Our defense did a good job of marking them the entire game.”

With that, the Wildcats completed their season sweep of Perkiomen Valley, starting out PAC-10 play with a win against the Vikings and closing it out with a title.

Much to her coach’s agreement, senior Nettie Montes says her team’s hard-work finally paid off.

“I could not be more proud to be a part of this team,” said Montes, who finished with an assist in the win. “We have worked so hard for four years and finally got what we deserve. Perk Valley played a great game but it feels great to be the last champions of the PAC-10.”

After graduating a fleet of seniors from last year’s title run, Vikings head coach Erik Enters credits his team’s effort of getting back to the title game.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” he said. “We lost six key starters and pretty much the whole core of our defense, but we came together as a team. For us to get to this point…I’m thrilled. I’m disappointed we didn’t win this, but I’m super proud of them.”

O.J.R. team celebrate after winning the PAC-10 field hockey championship over Perkiomen Valley.
Owen J. Roberts celebrates after winning the PAC-10 field hockey championship over Perkiomen Valley. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

Despite the result, both teams will now shift focus to the district tournament, which begins next week.

Owen J. Roberts finished the season as the No. 8-ranked team in District 1 and will open up the district tournament at home against Pennsbury on Monday.

Perkiomen Valley, ranked No. 15, will open up against Council Rock South.

NOTES >> Kerri Hanshaw made two saves in goal for PV. … Freshman Gabby Martina hit a shot off the post with about seven minutes remaining. … Upper Perkiomen won the PAC-10 Championship in 2013.

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