WHITEMARSH >> The Plymouth Whitemarsh field hockey upperclassmen couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate Senior Night.
Senior Ava Borkowski, one of the most decorated players in program history, scored an overtime goal to give the Colonials a 3-2 Suburban One League Liberty Division win over Wissahickon Monday night at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.
“I could not have asked for a better Senior Night,” Borkowski said. “It was amazing.”
Borkowski’s goal came just 83 seconds into the sudden-victory extra session. After the Trojans had the first offensive opportunity of overtime, the Colonials countered and the 2019 Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media All Area Player of the Year ended the game with a reverse hit into the back of the cage.
“I received and took a touch in the circle near the baseline,” Borkowski said, noting the passes of the midfielders and left forward Alexa DeLucca to set her up. “I was in the circle, just saw an open shot. I shot it and didn’t even look up. I just listened for the backboard. I heard it hit the backboard, everybody started running to me and we won the game. I’m in shock. It was amazing.”
The overtime goal continued the game-long trend of back-and-forth play. One goal was scored during each quarter and the rivals traded one-goal leads during regulation.
“It was a lot of counter-attacks going back-and-forth,” Wissahickon head coach Lucy Gil said. “Sometimes we would get stuck back there in our defensive end and they would pressure us really hard, then we’d be able to come out hard a little bit.”
Sophia Havrilla scored the game’s first goal with 5:58 left in the first quarter to give the Trojans an early lead.
Less than 10 minutes later, PW’s Hailey Copestick tied the game with a short-handed goal. She put-back a rebound while the Colonials were shorthanded to even the score, 1-1, early in the second quarter.
PW took a 2-1 lead early in the third by putting back another rebound. This time it was DeLucca finding the back of the cage, cleaning up a Kaleigh Missimer shot that was deflected away.
“They did a good job marking me and I didn’t get a lot of shots off in the game,” Borkowski said, “but it’s good for my teammates. They get the opportunity and if there are multiple girls on me that means there’s open space for one of our attackers in the circle and that’s what we’re looking for. If defenders are drawn on me, we know there are open girls and we just have to feed them the ball.”
That lead held for the final 13:12 of the third quarter and the first 4:47 of the fourth. That’s when Wissahickon’s Kate Lovensheimer scored from a tough side angle to tie the game, 2-2.
The Trojans had a chance to win at the end of regulation, earning a pair of penalty corners in the final minutes, but weren’t able to find the back of the cage.
“We’ve been working on corners left and right,” Gil said of her team that was 0-for-12 on corners Monday night. “That was our entire practice Sunday. We’re still struggling with corners. We’ll figure it out.”
The win puts Plymouth Whitemarsh in the driver’s seat for the SOL Liberty Division championship. Both teams entered the game undefeated and PW leaves 5-0 while Wissahickon is 4-1.
“(This game) was so big, especially because they’re our rival,” Borkowski said. “Our whole team’s goal – mostly the seniors – is we do not want to graduate high school losing a Suburban One game. So far we’ve stuck with that. Five more games left, I think, so hopefully we can finish out strong. We have to play Wiss again on their Senior Night and it’s definitely going to be another fight.”
The teams play again in the regular season finale in two weeks. The rematch is on Oct. 19 at Wissahickon.
“(This game) shows us that we can hang in there with some really great teams,”Gil said. “I was really happy with the outcome even though it was a loss. It was a really good game.
“What I felt great about was that everyone played up to their level. There were no holes. It looked really good and smooth. I was really proud.”