Casey Kilchrist sparking Villa Jo Marie offense (VIDEO)

WARRINGTON – Never mind necessity, sometimes, misfortune can be the mother of invention.

That’s the case with the defending state champion Villa Jo Marie girls soccer team, which saw one of its top scorers and 2014 Catholic Academies MVP Murphy Agnew go down with an injury in a recent league matchup with Gwynedd Mercy Academy (GMA).

After dropping their first league game of the season Oct. 17 when they lost 3-2 in overtime to GMA, the Jems have won three straight including a 2-1 comeback win over Suburban One League (SOL) Continental Conference rival CB South Thursday, Oct. 22 on the Titans’ home pitch.

After falling behind 1-0 at the 15-minute mark, Villa got a goal in each half from junior Casey Kilchrist. It was the second time this week that Kilchrist tallied multiple goals in a Jems’ win. She also tallied two in Villa’s 3-0 win over Bicentennial League (BAL) rival Lower Moreland earlier in the week.

Against CB South, less than two minutes after Villa Jo allowed an own goal to sneak in, Kilchrist blasted a rebound of a wicked shot taken by sophomore Megan O’Neill that hit the crossbar. Booted into the back of the net in a fraction of a second’s time after the initial shot by O’Neill, Titans keeper Sophie Boggs had little chance of making the stop on the equalizer.

“She likes putting away those rebound goals,” stated VJM senior Bridget Galen. “Casey was right on top of the rebound; there was no stopping her.”

Kilchrist tallied the game-winner after a scrum in front of the net 15 minutes into the second half.

“Casey has been doing that all year; she’s been doing that since she’s been with us,” added head coach Rich Finneyfrock.

“When you have two players – Casey and Murphy – that are that good, it’s hard for teams to stay with them.”

After falling behind, the Jems wasted little time notching the goal that tied it.

“Whenever you score an own-goal, it’s bad,” explained Galen. “Whenever we get scored on at all, we try and score one ourselves.”

In the team’s recent loss to GMA – its first loss suffered in a conference game in more than five years – Agnew was taken down by a defender in the first half. With an ailing back, she did not return to the lineup after the break and the Jems subsequently lost 3-2 in overtime with the opponent notching the golden goal less than 30 seconds into the extra session.

“When Murphy’s out, it hurts us,” admitted Galen.

“Without Murphy, we’re just not the same. She kind of pulls everyone together and she adds some pop to the offense.

“She’s a playmaker.”

After recording 36 goals and 16 assists registered in 2014, Agnew was named player of the year by several area publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In addition to missing Agnew at times this season, the Jems took the pitch for the first time without 2014 midfielders Allie Trzaska and Taylor Stevens along with defender Alexa Fabbri, among other departures.

Stepping up in place of the graduates have been Kilchrist, senior Alyssa Dionisio and junior Erin Kueny, among others.

“All the juniors and seniors have been working hard to fill the spots of the girls who graduated,” said Galen.

For her part, Kueny, a junior, registered a hat trick in Villa’s recent win over AACA rival and 2014 PIAA runner-up Villa Maria Academy (VMA). Kilchrist and Dionisio also reached the back of the net, helping the Jems to a 5-1 triumph Oct. 20 over VMA.

The two goals tallied by Kilchrist in the CB South game brings her to 14, one more than Agnew, who has 13.

“Casey has brought her game up to a different level the second part of this year,” commented Finneyfrock. “She’s turned it up another notch.”


After four years on the VJM varsity pitch, Galen is headed to St. Joseph’s University. She could play central or outside midfielder for the Hawks.

“Bridget has played well all four years here. She’s an outstanding player,” stated her coach. “She’s going to St. Joe’s next year and she’s going to help them a lot.”

Dionisio is also taking her game to the next level, though she is currently undecided as to where.


Against CB South, junior goalkeeper Danielle Sampson played the first 40 minutes while senior Gretchen Frantz took the field after the intermission. The Jems have another keeper in junior Olivia Eife.

“I have three very good keepers and I just go with my gut feeling,” said Finneyfrock. “We did this last season and when we hit playoffs, we might lean on one that’s hotter than the other.

“To be honest, all three are within inches of one another.

“I watch them warm up and make a decision based on that premise.”

In addition to capturing a PIAA Class AA championship last season, Villa captured a fourth straight District One trophy. Finneyfrock is not amking any predictions concerning this year’s tournament, set to begin Wednesday, Oct. 28.

“Anything is possible; I think we have as good a chance as anybody to do it,” stated the coach.

“It would be nice; it’s one of our goals but there’s a lot of good teams out there.

The coach had this to say to his team after it dropped the game in overtime to Gwynedd Mercy.

“I said to the girls, ‘would you rather be the team that lost its first game in five year or the team that just won its first game in five years? We still won the conference.”

Because of that, should the Monarchs face Villa in districts, GMA would have to travel to Holland to face off.

“We, most likely, will see them again and it’s going to be a battle,” said Galen of a potential rematch with Gwynedd.

On getting his team motivated for its second non-league game in four days, Finneyfrock said:

“It’s tough; they’re beat up and they’re tired but so is everybody. We have to learn to play through it.”

“I tell the girls, ‘after today, every practice can be your last.’”

After falling 1-0 to conference rival CB West the night before its matchup with Villa, CB South was without some of its starters including defender Krysta Reading and midfielder Heather McDermott. Head coach Betsy Bullock says her squad is also banged up but should be ready when the District One-AAA tournament begins Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The Titans fell to 7-6-3 overall, 7-4-2 in conference play. CB East won the Continental trophy after going unbeaten (13-0). Villa finishes the regular season 13-4 overall, 11-1 AACA.

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