BUCKTOWN >> They didn’t get rattled.
After falling behind three minutes into their District 1-AAA second round matchup with Bishop Shanahan, the Wildcats gained a renewed focus.
“We were nervous at the beginning of this one,” said Courtney Gerber. “We knew this game was make or break. If we lost, our season was finished.
“It was definitely important for us to shake off the nerves and get our focus back. It was a really big step for us.”
With a renewed focus and even more motivation, No. 8 seeded Owen J. Roberts quickly evened the score and lived to see another day, dominating the ninth-seeded Eagles the rest of the way en route to a 4-1 win.
With the win, the Wildcats will face No. 1 seeded Unionville (a 6-0 winner over Council Rock North) Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Owen J. Roberts head coach Amy Hoffman says the early goal scored by Shanahan may have been just the spark the Wildcats needed.
“When they scored on us early, I think that reenergized us for the rest of the game,” said Hoffman. “We have a strong group.
Just because someone scores on them, doesn’t mean they’re going to cave and fold. They did a great job of responding.”
Just two minutes after the Eagles’ opening goal, which Marykate O’Brien knocked in through traffic, the Wildcats had a quick answer.
Senior Maddie Schaeffer found Gerber who knocked it in to even the score.
Gerber scored twice while Nettie Montes scored on a stroke and added an assist. Keeley White added a goal and Corinne Gerber an assist in the win.
“As a team, we know what we’re capable of,” said Montes. “So when we got down early on, we looked at ourselves and said
‘We need to pick it up.’ None of us were ready for the season to come to an end, and I think the way we responded shows.”
The Wildcats put nine shots on goal while limiting Bishop Shanahan to just five. OJR also held the advantage in corners, 18-10.
Senior goalkeeper Amanda Lamb finished with two saves while freshman defender Natalie Fuertsch made two defensive saves.
“Our game plan was to go out, play as hard as we can, have no regrets and finish,” said Hoffman. “The girls never lost sight of that. Even late in the game, they continued to push and keep pressing the offense.”
After her team put up an early goal, Bishop Shanahan head coach Peggy Conlon watched her team give up four-unanswered. Held at bay by OJR’s corner advantage, she says her team didn’t find a way to create enough scoring chances.
“All of their corners, they add up,” she said. “We didn’t shoot the ball enough, which is a credit to (Owen J. Roberts’) defense. They’re a very fast team and that really gave them an advantage.”
Even in the loss, the Eagles have plenty to look forward to. With seven starters returning, Conlon hopes that not only will her team get back to the district tournament, but advance even further next season.
“We have a lot of players who can really contribute a lot for us in addition to those returning,” she added. “Even though it’s tough to end the season like this, there are plenty of good things to come for us.”
The Wildcats will now shift their focus to the district’s top seed, undefeated Unionville on Friday.
“They’re a really strong team,” said Hoffman. “They’ve got some really strong players, but we’ve got our own studs, too. I know these girls will be ready to play.”
|October 29, 2015||4:00 pm||PAC||2015|