DOWNINGTOWN – Kaiya Chepow isn’t familiar with the Maytag Repairman. You know, the loneliest guy in town commercial that first aired in 1967 and continues to this day.
But the Downingtown West field hockey player knows the feeling. During a Ches-Mont National clash against crosstown rival Bishop Shanahan at Kottmeyer Stadium, the freshman goaltenders faced just a single shot on goal as the Whippets cruised to a 3-0 victory.
“I felt a little lonely back there,” Chepow said. “My defense seemed to cut down or stop everything that was coming my way.
“I’ve had games where I haven’t faced a single shot, so I guess I am kind of used to it.”
The statistics were pretty lopsided in West’s favor, but the upset-minded Eagles hung in there and only trailed 1-0 well into the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Ciara Margetich did all of the scoring for the Whippets, notching the second hat-trick in her high school career.
“I think our first half was just sloppy,” Margetich said. “We took a deep breath at the half and said, ‘let’s play West hockey.’ We kind of just did what we know we can do.”
West improves to 4-0 with previous wins over Coatesville, West Chester Henderson and Avon Grove. For Shanahan (2-1-1), it was the season’s first setback.
“The girls hung in for three and a half quarters and we battled until the very end,” said Eagles’ head coach Maria Mastrocola.
The Whippets registered an 18-1 edge in shots on goal and amassed a 9-0 advantage in corners. But West was unable to end a scoreless tie until Margetich converted on a corner from teammate Alyssa Freeman in the final minute of the third quarter. It ended a 44-plus minute scoreless streak for Shanahan’s goalie Emma Leppert. The busy senior finished with 17 saves.
“Our goalie played very well, but when you give up a lot of corners, eventually something is going to happen. Overall our defense played phenomenal,” Mastrocola said.
“Hat’s off to (Leppert),” added West head coach Stephanie Bullock. “She is a phenomenal goalie. The straight up shots weren’t working so we had to make some adjustments. The girls did it and it was great to see.”
Freeman delivered a centering pass midway through the final period and Magetich backhanded it in for a 2-0 lead. And then with 2:19 to play, Margetich added another off a pass from teammate Kari Schmidt.
“Ciara is aggressive, she gets nice and low, and she can finish it,” Bullock said.
“It really is a mental thing,” Margetich explained. “After a while you start thinking, ‘oh my gosh, when are we going to score?’ But when we got that first one, we kind of fed off of it.”
The defenses surrendered few quality scoring chances in the opening half. The Whippets best chance came in the second quarter when Margetich got her stick on a rebound, but Shanahan defender Alexandra Kiley blocked it away.
In all, the Whippets had a 4-0 first half edge in both shots on goal and corners, but it remained scoreless.
“The second half we stepped it up, started to play more as a unit making those connecting passes and putting extra pressure (on Shanahan) inside the circle,” Bullock said.
“I don’t mind games where we surrender just one shot. But sometimes that one shot can go in if you are not playing attention.”
Chepow’s lone save came early in the second half. Other than that, she just looked on as her teammates kept Shanahan from mounting much of an attack.
“There really wasn’t much for me to do,” she laughed. “I get distracted easily, so I always try to concentrate on the ball and for some reason that gets me to focus.”
Downingtown West 3, Bishop Shanahan 0
Bishop Shanahan 0 0 0 0 — 0
Downingtown West 0 0 1 2 — 3
Downingtown West goals: Margetich (3).
Goalie saves: Leppert (BS) 17; Chapow (DW) 1.