Bailey Quinn and her teammates were catching up on history.
As the team bus made its way to Milton Hershey High School for Phoenixville’s PIAA-AAA opener against Lower Dauphin, the senior pored through newspaper clippings and photos from a decade back.
Thirteen years had passed since Phoenixville last made the PIAA playoffs, advancing to the PIAA-AA quarterfinals before falling to Wyoming Seminary.
That team was revered, a model for all Phantoms teams to follow.
“On the way to the state game we were pulling out newspapers from the 2001 team and we thought it was so cool, we thought it’d be great to be like them,’ Quinn said.
What Quinn didn’t realize, as her team pulled into Milton Hershey, was that she’d already accomplished that.
Quinn capped off the piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance to a scintillating career, shattering Miranda Peto’s single-season scoring mark of 28 as she registered 41 goals and eight assists, leading her Phoenixville team to a 12-1 PAC-10 record, a district berth in the team’s first season at the Class AAA level since the late 90s and its first PIAA berth since 2001.
For that, Quinn is the 2014 Mercury All-Area Field Hockey Player of the Year.
“It’s a great accomplishment, I worked very hard throughout the season and it feels great to be awarded for the work that I put in,’ Quinn said. “I had a good season and it was great to see how far our team went this year.’
Quinn succeeds Upper Perkiomen’s Casey Umstead (2013) and Spring-Ford’s Gabby Major (2012) as Player of the Year. Quinn had previously finished as a second-team member in 2013 after finishing on the first team in 2012.
Known for her uncanny ability to score, the senior closed out her Phoenixville career with 90 goals, however, the legacy that she had built her senior season will be one that will be looked upon by the Phoenixville faithful for years to come.
It was a season that turned the tide in the PAC-10 Frontier as the Phantoms ripped the No. 1 seed from Upper Perkiomen for the first time in years.
It was a season highlighted by Quinn’s indelible moments: game-winning goals, a school record she had no idea about, and a chance to play on the biggest stage her team had ever played on.
However, none were bigger than her efforts against Perkiomen Valley in a win-or-go-home District 1-AAA playback game with a PIAA berth on the line.
Playing on a rain-soaked outfield at PV, Quinn found herself out of sorts in the first half, missing on a few occasions, before missing a wide-open opportunity in the second half that would have tied it.
But as the rain pelted the field harder, Quinn found herself in the same position she saw herself in three other times at districts — at the stroke line.
Quinn tallied her first marker midway through the second half before toeing the stroke line again with four minutes remaining, where she labeled the shot for the same spot as she did before — top shelf.
“I knew I had to get the ball in the net. I was kind of nervous but I had confidence in myself and I knew I could get it,’ Quinn said. “The open goal that I had missed got me down but I knew that I had to get myself back in the game. I knew with each stroke that I had to deliver.’
Her heroism in the do-or-die clash was vindication for her inability to hit the cage in Phoenixville’s two PAC-10 losses in the season, against PV in the regular season and Owen J. Roberts in the PAC-10 semifinals.
“I felt that I didn’t bring my all,’ Quinn said. “It is what it is; I’m not going to score every game but I knew I had to step it up and help my team win.’
She said she wasn’t going to score every game, but looking at scoresheets as the Phantoms compiled a 20-6 overall record, it tells a different story.
Quinn broke out of the gate at a torrid scoring pace, breaking the school scoring record of 28 in only 13 games, the marker coming in a 1-0 victory against OJR.
The best thing?
Quinn had no idea she broke it.
“I kept asking Coach (John) Tornetta how close I was to the record and he’d never tell me,’ Quinn said. “I had no idea. When I scored the goal and came over, he said, ‘ Congratulations, you just broke the record for Phoenixville.’ It was a huge surprise to me; it was sick.’
What didn’t come as a surprise was Quinn’s ability to finish throughout the year.
Armed with a lethal reverse chip, Quinn finished the season with 11 games with two or more goals, including five-goal efforts against Pottsgrove and Pope John Paul II, a two-goal effort in a last-minute victory over Methacton and two more in a victory over Upper Perkiomen in the beginning of the season, the Phantoms’ first victory over the Tribe since 2011. Her two-goal game (via penalty stroke) helped her team survive a scare from Quakertown in the opening round of districts, before she delivered again in the playback round.
“I don’t know what it was about this season,’ Quinn said. “There was something that drove me. I’m glad I was able to convert on strokes when I had the chance and had the confidence that I knew I had it whenever I got called.’
Quinn’s season came to an abrupt halt in the first round of the PIAA-AAA opening round to District 3 champion and perennial powerhouse Lower Dauphin. She was held scoreless as the Falcons ran roughshod over the Phantoms, 6-0, but to Quinn, the statement had already been made.
“I loved playing with the girls,’ Quinn said. “I’ve been playing with them since eighth grade. It was nice to end the season going to states and having just a great year.’
A year that might have future Phoenixville students reading up on this team in years to come. Reading up on a scoring record being shattered, on a team that rose to new heights during their captivating careers.
“We made it as far as we could and I think everyone will look back at our team like we did with the 2001 team. At least I hope they do,’ Quinn said.
“It was a great accomplishment that we made it as far as we did. I wouldn’t take anything away from it.’
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