LOWER GWYNEDD >> Wissahickon came close to beating Plymouth Whitemarsh twice last season. The Trojans lost both games by one goal, including an overtime defeat.
This year they got over the hump.
Wissahickon defeated Plymouth Whitemarsh, 4-0, Wednesday night at Wissahickon High School, handing the Colonials their first league loss since Sept. 16, 2015.
“It’s been in the making,” Wiss coach Lucy Gil said. “Two years ago we lost by three goals and four goals, then last year we lost by one goal each time – one actually in overtime. It’s really nice that it’s been progressing where we are getting to the point where we can beat even amazing teams like this.”
“It feels so great,” Wiss goalie Alli Wood said of ending PW’s 81-game win streak. “They are definitely our rivals within our division, so it just felt great to finally pull out that win.”
It wasn’t easy for the Trojans (6-0, 5-0 SOL Liberty) in the first quarter. They were on their heels for most of the opening 15 minutes, but kept PW off the scoreboard. They defended five consecutive penalty corners while defender Julia Schools made a key defensive save and Wood came far out of her cage to stop a breakaway.
“We work really hard on defense,” Gil said. “It may not be pretty, but they get their sticks down low, they know what they have to do, they know who they have to mark and they do their job really well.”
“My whole goal is to stop the ball,” Wood said. “If I can go out and attack them, I’ll stop the ball sooner. I can’t just be a sitting duck waiting in the goal.”
Ella Hummel got the scoring started in the middle of the second quarter. Her shot from the right side of the cage gave the Trojans an early 1-0 lead.
“Sophia Havrilla passed it back in and I was able to hit it,” Hummel said. “It went right past the defense. It wasn’t really a pretty goal, but it was worth it.”
Kendall Crowley doubled the lead in the final three minutes of the first half. Schools received the pass on a penalty corner and sent the ball to the post, where Crowley was to deflect it into the cage.
The Colonials (4-2, 4-1 SOL Liberty) earned a pair of penalty corners early in the third quarter, but Wiss turned both opportunities away. On the first corner, Brynne Miller ran out of the cage to deflect the initial shot. She followed the ball and made a second stop to gain possession and clear the zone.
“(Miller’s) role on defense, generally, she’s the captain back there,” Gil said. “Her and Julia (Schools) – those two in the middle – they regulate everybody. They know where to put everybody. Brynne’s ability to generate speed on those to get back and then get back again – that’s something that’s innate.”
In the final 77 seconds of the third quarter, Wissahickon took complete control of the game. Hummel inserted a penalty corner to Miller, whose strong hit went in to make it 3-0. As time expired in the third, Wiss finished a fast break with a score. Hummel found Riley Ball in front of the net and, as Ball got knocked off her feet, she shot the ball into the goal for a 4-0 advantage.
“I didn’t think that was going to happen,” Gil said. “I really thought it was going to be 2-0, nice and close, and we would just hold on to that lead, but it was really nice to see them say, ‘No. We can do this’ and just keep going.”
“It was definitely a momentum swing,” Hummel said. “I feel like we were just trying to keep them out and keep the shutout. We weren’t really pressing to score as much – we were more trying to work on our defense – but when we saw the breakaway we definitely took it.”
Neither team generated many scoring opportunities across the final 15 minutes. When the buzzer sounded, the Trojans stood one game ahead of PW in the Suburban One League Liberty Division standings halfway through the league season.
These rivals will meet again at Plymouth Whitemarsh on Oct. 20.
Wissahickon 4, Plymouth Whitemarsh 0
Plymouth Whitemarsh 0 0 0 0 – 0
Wissahickon 0 2 2 0 – 4
Goals: W: Ella Hummel, Kendall Crowley, Brynne Miller, Riley Ball.
Assists: W: Sophia Havrilla, Julia Schools, Ella Hummel 2.
Saves: PW: Rosalie Montenegro 2. W: Alli Wood 9.