ROYERSFORD >> It didn’t take long for Owen J. Roberts juniors Gabbi Koury and Alexa Vogelman to start checking off career milestones.
Even without a freshman season to add to her career scoring tally, Koury reached the 100-goal mark against Phoenixville on April 6 — five games into her junior campaign.
It took five extra games, but Vogelman became another early entrant in the 100-goal club on Tuesday night as part of a five-goal performance in an 18-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over Spring-Ford.
“I think a lot of our offense is built off of using each other off cuts and all those things,” Vogelman said. “We’ve kind of established an offense to not be selfish and always look for the one-v-ones, to play as a team and look for the bing-bang-booms.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” Vogelman said of reaching the milestone.
.@ojrglacrosse junior Alex Vogelman (right) joined teammate Gabbi Koury (left) in the 100-goal club off an assist from Gracyn Smith (center) in OJR’s win over Spring-Ford on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/usk8xqqTlA
— Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue) April 20, 2022
The Wildcats (10-0, 8-0 PAC, 5-0 Liberty) took an undefeated record and the top spot in the District 1-3A power rankings into Tuesday’s division contest.
Already dispatching the rest of the division in dominant fashion (including an 18-1 win over District 1 No. 2 Methacton), the Wildcats showed their dominance once again as they completed their first go-around through the Liberty.
A pair of goals each from Vogelman and Koury, who had six of her own in the game, gave OJR a 4-0 lead less than two-and-half minutes into the contest. Vogelman notched a hat trick and reached 100 career goals off an assist from senior Gracyn Smith at the 18:36 mark in the first half.
Vogelman (three assists), Koury (two assists), Smith (two goals, four assists), junior Kallie Mullen (two goals), junior Ava Clemson and freshman Laina Grimm all found net for the Wildcats, who led 14-0 by halftime.
“Our team has great chemistry and we’ve worked to build it a lot over the years,” Koury said. “I think it just clicks with us, so seeing Lex cutting – first of all she’s a great cutter – our feeders are so great at finding her on the stick and she’s great at finishing.”
Senior Alyssa Mozi and sophomore Gianna Dibattista scored the Rams’ two goals off assists from Madison Pierce and sophomore Lexi Sowers, respectively. Sophomore Korrigan Sweeney saved seven shots for the Wildcats, and sophomore Ilyana Jones stopped 16 shots for the Rams.
“They don’t make mistakes,” Spring-Ford coach Kristi Holstein said. “They do, but they’re far and few. They take really good care of the ball. It definitely helps that they have a core group that plays year round. They’re disciplined. They seem to have good chemistry.”
OJR went undefeated in the Pioneer Athletic Conference last season, earning a sixth straight league championship. The Wildcats outscored league opponents 245-31 on the way to a 15-0 league mark and 16-0 regular season.
With most of the pieces are back from last year’s squad that reached the District 1-3A and PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals, the Wildcats appear to have taken things to another level in 2022, scoring 126 goals and allowing just 13 through seven league games.
“Last year didn’t end the way we really wanted it to, so I think we used that as motivation and through the summer, winter and now into the spring we’ve been working our butts off and I think it’s really paying off,” Koury said. “We have very big goals, and we’re working to achieve them.”
The Wildcats go beyond just Vogelman and Koury. Smith, who has 20 goals and 22 assists this season, should become the third current Wildcat to reach 100 career goals in 2022, currently sitting at 82 for her career. She has a strong chance to reach the 100-assist mark as well with 84 career helpers counting her four on Tuesday.
Clemson, Mullen, Doyle and sophomore Sierra Milano all have double-digit scoring totals through 10 games as well, and senior Quinn Defibaugh is another offensive threat.
“Definitely in the offseason we’ve been working really hard in just perfecting everything that we’re doing,” Smith said. “Every time I have the ball, I know I’m looking for Gabbi and Lex and every time they’re open they finish, so I trust them and they trust me.”
As expected, it looks like the Wildcats are in a class of their own in the PAC this season, but they’re determined to stay focused in preparing themselves for a run at a seventh straight league championship and even deeper district and state runs.
“I think it’s just about doing the little things right and in games like these making sure we’re hammering down the fundamentals, so when the big time comes we’re not making those little mistakes that could cost the game,” Vogelman said. “This year, we’re really focused on growing up. Last year, we were really young and we didn’t have those experiences and I think having that experience has helped us to grow and I think we’re growing every single game.”
They’re hoping the ‘iron sharpens iron’ approach in practice everyday helps accelerate that growth.
“We say all the time, ‘We’re our biggest competitors,’” Smith said. “Having the best of the best to practice against everyday is really helping us.”
The Rams, the last PAC squad to face off against the Wildcats in a league title game back in 2019, understand Tuesday’s result is more of a reflection of their opponent than what they bring to the table.
Spring-Ford currently sits third in the PAC and No. 23 in the District 1 power rankings right around the midway mark of its regular season, which has so far included one-goal wins over Perkiomen Valley and Boyertown.
Holstein is excited for her young group, which features just five returners from a season ago, to make a run at both the league and district playoffs.
“They’re working hard, they’re having fun,” Holstein said. “I really love the group that we have this year because when we are teaching things and making corrections, they are trying to improve that.”
“We’re heading into round 2. As soon as we came off the field, they were already, ‘PV Thursday,’ so they’re ready to go and I think in their minds right now they’re focusing on one at a time.”