TOWAMENCIN >> Nina Mayro points to last year as the starting point for the Central Bucks West field hockey team’s turnaround.
“Throughout the season we had enormous improvement,” the Bucks junior said. “And that was I think one of our biggest regrets last year is we got good but it wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t soon enough. And so this season we came ready to go.”
Only one team has gotten the better of West so far in 2022 and the Bucks kept it that way Monday afternoon against host North Penn.
A strong start resulted in a 1-0 West lead less than four minutes into the SOL Colonial Division contest. The Bucks proceeded to add a goal each in both the second and third quarters before striking four times in the fourth to pull away for a 7-0 victory.
“We’ve had this underdog mentality because we’ve gone now multiple seasons just all the other teams kind of like looking down on us,” said Mayro, a junior who is verbally committed to Georgetown. “So we wanted to prove something today. And we knew we have the chemistry, we have the skill, we have the players. We need to just put it all out on the field.”
Mayro had a hand in four goals, scoring twice while assisting on another two as CB West (13-1-0, 11-1-0 division) won its eighth straight.
Eve Damsker added a pair of goals while Aida Ierubino, Calista Boos Lily Cosner also found the back of the cage as the Bucks swept the regular-season series with the Knights after winning 3-2 at West Sept. 1.
“This season, our first match was super-tight, super-intense, this one was intense as well,” Bucks coach David DeAngelis said. “But we’ve been kind of progressively picking up offensively, attacking. Our speed’s pretty good and so is our conditioning right now.”
North Penn (8-7-0, 8-5-0) came into Monday having won two straight and three of its last five — its lone loss in that span to undefeated Wissahickon — but the Knights could not create much offense against the Bucks, getting outshot 25-3 and out-cornered 11-4.
“We just didn’t show up to play today,” North Penn coach Shannon McCracken said. “We just did not come out hard. CB West is a very good team — they’re fast and do the basics really well. Their sticks are down, they go hard to the ball, they track and pass well and those are things that we still are struggling with at this point in the season.”
North Penn starting goalkeeper Kiera Holt made 13 saves while Kiley Moister had seven saves. Laura Albert had a defensive save for the Knights. CB West keeper Kendra Pitts had three saves.
“I was proud of the way our defense was playing cause we knew that they have a fast attack and they do a really nice job of getting the shot off quickly,” McCracken said. “And I thought Kiera had a great game early for us and Melissa Sessler and Annabelle Smink played strong in the backfield as well for us.
“But you can hold off a strong team so long and we had trouble transitioning the ball then in the midfield. We couldn’t really get anything started in our attack end.”
Central Bucks West last winning season came in 2017, going 15-5-0 after reaching the District 1-3A second round. The Bucks won just 10 games over the next three seasons and last year started 1-6 before putting together a five-game win streak.
FIELD HOCKEY: @CBWestFH’s Lily Cosner scores on a penalty corner 4Q off a Nina Mayro assist for the Bucks’ last goal in an 7-0 win over North Penn. pic.twitter.com/YBS7CqWTaT
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) October 10, 2022
Dropping four of its final six meant finishing 8-10-0 and missing districts but it laid the foundation for the success so far this year.
The Bucks started this season with five straight wins before being edged at Souderton 4-3 Sept. 13. West has not lost since and sits second in the SOL Colonial behind the Indians.
“We weren’t quite ready, we weren’t quite there,” said DeAngelis of the beginning of 2021. “So at the midpoint when the crossover and things began to occur, number one we actually started stringing I think like four or five wins in a row. And then we replayed our conference foes and, again, they’re always, I mean it, they’re tough.
“We lost but you could see a whole different level of competitive juice if you will at that point and that has carried over for them, offseason, whether it’s club or what have you, that they have committed themselves.”
The Bucks, seventh in the District 1-3A rankings, have a rematch with Souderton at home Oct. 18 but have two division games remaining this week, hosting Central Bucks South 7 p.m. Wednesday then visiting Pennridge 5 p.m. Friday.
North Penn, 18th in the rankings — 24 make the 3A tournament — is on the road for SOL Colonial contests with Souderton 7 p.m. Wednesday then CB South 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Knights cap the regular season hosting Central Bucks East Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
“We’re working to get back to district play,” McCracken said. “But we’ve got three tough opponents, our conference is good so we’ve got three tough opponents. Souderton’s excellent and then we’re playing two teams that are fighting to get in so it’s not going to be an easy road. We have got to take care of our end.”
Damsker opened Monday’s scoring, the freshman sending the ball past the goalie and into the cage at 11:17 in the first quarter.
“We were just so pumped to get that ball in the goal,” Damsker said. “We just kept pushing and pushing and the ball just happened to go in. The goalie was very good but we have good shot placement.”
Mayro made it 2-0 in the second quarter on a corner, collecting a rebound off the keeper and connecting on a reverse shot to score with 1:15 left in the half.
“I think just the mentality that this next ball is going in no matter what and just being prepared,” Mayro said. “Always having my stick on the ground, always just checking over my shoulder to see where the goalie is and also just kind of making sure to read the goalie throughout the game.
“She went down a lot. And that was a big thing on their team is that they did a good job of staying really low, so if you got a little bit of air you could get past them and that’s what got the ball just in the goal.”
Mayro set up the Bucks’ third goal, delivering a pass forward to Ierubino, who drove in and slotted a shot in at 8:45 in the third quarter.
“I think that’s just been part of team chemistry, just kind of recognizing how other players play,” Mayor said. “So I know that Aida’s always a player that’s going to be there, she’s always going to cut up and be there for you. It’s a perfect two-v-one situation, so I just saw her out of the corner of my eye and I just popped it down to her.”
Boos converted a penalty stroke for a 4-0 lead at 13:18 in the fourth. Mayro corralled a rebound of her saved shot to score her second while Damsker followed with her second tally to put West up 6-0.
“I was on the ground, I almost hit my head on the post but it was worth it,” Damsker said.
Mayro picked up the assist as the Bucks tacked on a seventh goal on a corner, Cosner ripping a shot into the cage from the right side of the circle.
Central Bucks West 7, North Penn 0
Central Bucks West 1 1 1 4 — 7
North Penn 0 0 0 0 — 0
First Quarter-Eve Damsker (CBW) 11:17, Mimi Duffy assist; Second Quarter-Nina Mayro (CBW) 1:15; Third Quarter-Aida Ierubino (CBW) 8:45, Mayro assist; Fourth Quarter-Calista Boos (CBW) 13:18, penalty stroke; Mayro (CBW) 12:40; Damsker (CBW) 8:54; Lily Cosner (CBW) 3:25, Mayro assist.