Seniors leading the way for Cardinal O’Hara

MARPLE TWP. — The weather was more suited for an indoor practice than an outdoor workout. Wind combined with rain made being outside nasty for any reason.

The Cardinal O’Hara field hockey team did not have the option of taking its one and only practice for Tuesday’s showdown with Central Bucks East in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs at the Germantown Supersite (6 p.m.) indoors.

And so the Lions (12-5) braved the conditions with one slight variation. Head coach Carlie Spaeder cut the session from two hours to one. As usual, the seniors led the way. Spaeder, a 2013 O’Hara grad, has nine seniors on her roster. Erin Welde, Emily Raech and Gianna Gatto start, but Erin Grady, Grace Hussey, Maggie Salmon, Jackie McPeak, Kasey Methven and Marie Noon all see time.

“They work really well together and they do a great job of bringing the team up and really motivating them,” Spaeder said. “… They show how O’Hara field hockey is run.”

That was evident in O’Hara’s 2-0 loss to Carroll in the Catholic League championship game last Thursday at The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken.

“We tried to show them to play to the end, not to give up,” Welde said.

The Lions showed their resiliency two days later when they defeated Central, 1-0, for their eighth straight District 12 championship.

“This is our last season so we’re trying to make the best of it before we move on,” Gatto said.

“I’m really proud of them,” Spaeder said. “They work really hard together and they’re a resilient group. They really showed that they really wanted to be here, keep winning, get to spend time together and really do what they love.”

The Lions face a tall task. CB East (19-3) was the No. 1 seed in the District 1 tournament before falling to eventual champion Owen J. Roberts in the semifinals and Methacton in the third-place game to wind up as the No. 4 seed out of District 1.

The Lions, though, are ready.

“We just want to keep winning and winning,” Raech said.

In other first-round action:

Archbishop Carroll vs. Merion Mercy >> The Patriots and Bears square off in the second game of a tripleheader at the Germantown Supersite. Game time is 4 p.m. Carroll (17-4) is coming off its first District 12 title since 2015. Merion Mercy (13-8-2) fell to Vila Maria, 5-1, in the District 1 championship game.

Sacred Heart vs. Lansdale Catholic >> The Lions (8-12-1) and Crusaders kick off the tripleheader at the Germantown Supersite at 2 p.m. Sacred Heart is making its first appearance in the PIAA tournament since 2010. LC is in the state tournament for the first time.


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