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Wuerstle’s OT goal lifts Perkiomen Valley over Owen J. Roberts

LINFIELD >> Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley met up four times last season — twice with championships on the line.

The Vikings swept the regular-season series on their way to an undefeated mark and Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division win, but the Wildcats knocked off Perk Valley in the PAC championship game and District 1-3A title game.

An overtime goal by Katie Wuerstle helped the Vikings exact some revenge Wednesday with a 3-2 victory in an early-season Liberty Division battle.

“It felt really good to start off with a win against OJR,” said Wuerstle, who scored two goals in the game. “We played really well as a team. It was a really good confidence boost for us, pushing us forward this season.”

Perkiomen Valley put four shots on goal in the overtime period. The first three were stopped by OJR goalkeeper Cayden Jarvis, including one on Wuerstle.

Perkiomen Valley’s Ashley Elvidge, center, celebrates her first-half goal with teammate Danielle Hamm (30) and Bella Ricci (13). (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Jarvis, who made eight saves in the game, shut out PV in last year’s PAC and District 1 title games, and her superb work in Wednesday’s overtime period brought back memories of those games.

Wuerstle finally broke loose, however, on a breakaway with 8:49 left in overtime and found the back of the net to win the game before she was promptly surrounded by her teammates to celebrate the marquee win.

“They could have easily won,” Perk Valley coach Erik Enters said. “They had a corner with no time left on the clock. Cayden was amazing. She did to us today what she did in the PAC final where she made 10 incredible saves, standing on her head … But we got it past her.”

“That goalie is obviously really good,” Wuerstle said. “She stopped my shot earlier. When I knew it was going in, it felt really good. All my teammates were running on the field, too.”

Owen J. Roberts put 11 shots on goal in the game as PV goalie Ashley Derrick made several nice stops herself along with the defense of her back line, including Ariana Martina, who Enters said played like a “rock star” in the win.

Maddi Koury got Owen J. Roberts off to a quick start Wednesday with a goal at the 25:30 mark. Wuerstle answered with a score off an assist from Bella Ricci five minutes later.

Julia Lamb, who assisted on Koury’s goal, put OJR ahead again with 6:17 left in the first half, but Ashley Elvidge tied the game at halftime, 2-2, with a score in the final two minutes.

Both teams had opportunities for the game-winner late in the second half. Owen J. Roberts had the best two looks. The Wildcats hit the post with 15 minutes left in the game, then had a penalty corner stopped in the final seconds of regulation.

“It’s a good test,” Owen J. Roberts coach Ashley Hoffman said of Wednesday’s game. “We told the girls, ‘It’s no person’s individual fault, we’ve just gotta do better as a team.’ It’s good to have it early on. Now, we know what it feels like. We don’t like it, and we’ll bounce back next game.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Savannah Silvestre, left, possesses the ball against Owen J. Roberts’ Maddi Koury. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Perkiomen Valley and Owen J. Roberts combined to win 55 games last season, and finished as the two best teams in the league and the district.

Both coaches said their teams didn’t play their best games Wednesday and have a few kinks to work out as they continue on their seasons.

Owen J. Roberts is trying to replace the production of a strong 2018 class that included Mercury All-Area Player of the Year Natalie Fuertsch.

“We lost a great group last year, so we’re trying to work with some of our younger players to try and fill those roles,” Hoffman said. “They’ve been doing well so far, but we need to do a better job. All over, not just them.”

Enters mentioned his team is a little bit behind on conditioning. They had a late start to the preseason due to him competing with the USA Field Hockey’s Over-50 team in Germany this summer.

The Vikings also have some big shoes they are trying to fill in Gabby Martina (16 goals, 14 assists) and all-league defender Bryn Marcavage.

“Even though we lost Bryn and Gab, we’re starting off where we left off almost,” Wuerstle said. “We have a lot of other people who are going on and stepping up, so I think we’re going to have a really good season.”

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