SOL Field Hockey Wrap (9-24-12)

CR South created a three-way logjam at the top of the National Conference standings with its 2-1 win over CR North. Check out all of Monday’s exciting SOL field hockey action. To view photos of the Pennsbury/Neshaminy game, please visit the Photo Gallery.

National Conference

What a difference a year makes.
Last year after nine games, the Redskins were 3-3-3 (2-2-3 SOL). This year, it’s another story entirely. The Redskins are 6-3 overall and 6-1 in the league, and they are part of a three-way tie atop the National Conference standings after Council Rock South’s 2-1 win over Rock North on Monday.
“This year I have a core group of returners, and they’re working hard,” second-year coach Caitlin Koczynski said. “It’s just exciting.
“I think they’re getting familiar with what my expectations are for them, and I have great coaches around me. We’re such a team, and these girls want it, especially after not making districts last year. They want to win, and they’re working hard to accomplish our goals.”
According to the players, it’s a different world this year.
“Last year we would sometimes dominate games, but we had a lot of ties, and we went into overtime a lot,” senior captain Rachel Rotteveel said. “This year we haven’t gone into overtime at all. We’ve turned a lot of our ties and one-goal losses into wins.
“We have a lot of seniors this year, and we are all really motivated to do well, work hard and play together as a team. I think we’re using our individual talents to build a team off of that. We are making the most of our opportunities and working harder at practice.”
“Last year really was a struggle,” junior Erin Bedesem added. “I felt like we didn’t pick it up as a team. This year we really worked hard at coming together and trying to figure out ways we could mesh well together as a team.
“Last year I just feel like we just didn’t have that final push like we have this year. We’re pushing it, we’re working really hard, and we’re making sure we’re giving our all.”
Last week, the Redskins served notice that they were once again a force to be reckoned with in the National Conference, earning a hard-fought win over Council Rock South and falling to Council Rock North 1-0 in a game they dominated statistically.
“I think it showed everyone that Neshaminy is still in this and we’re here,” Bedesem said. “It’s showing us we can do this, and I think it’s motivating us more. We really want this, and we can play with really good teams like Council Rock North and South.”

The Redskins and Falcons found themselves locked in a scoreless tie at halftime of Monday’s contest between the neighboring rivals.
“We kept trying to put the ball in the net,” Rotteveel said. “We had it in their end of the field for most of the first half, but we just couldn’t seem to put it in.
“When we came out in the second half, we were all really motivated to score.”
That motivation resulted in a goal by Bedesem (Brittany Sheenan assist).

“When Erin Bedesem scored that goal, it gave us a little spark and gave us motivation to get more,” Koczynski said. “We got hungry after that.”
“I feel like it was the spark that we needed,” Bedesem agreed. “We all pumped it up and realized we could do this.
“Pennsbury is always a good rivalry for us, and at halftime, we said we just needed to pick it up. We weren’t awake out there. Our coaches said, ‘You know you can do this.’ We picked it up and showed it with the goals we scored.”
The Redskins hit paydirt on a corner to go on top 2-0 when Rotteveel turned a Bedesem assist into a goal.  Rotteveel put the finishing touches on a big day with her second goal, this time turning a cross from Emily Curtin into a goal for the 3-0 final.
Despite connecting for a pair of goals, Rotteveel acknowledged that finding the cage is not always easy.
“You can get the ball in the circle and even get corners, but sometimes the ball won’t go in,” the senior captain said. “That was definitely a problem in our last game against Council Rock North, which we ended up losing 1-0 because we couldn’t put the ball in then net.
“It was really great to see that we could capitalize on our opportunities in the second half today.”
The Falcons saw their record fall to 2-4-1 in league play (2-6-1 overall).

The Golden Hawks used a goal by Mollie Sheehy (Kristin Donohue/Kristen Meihofer assists) with 11:39 remaining to earn a come-from-behind win over an Indian squad that had not lost in SOL play.
“We are thrilled,” Rock South coach Lisa Belz said. “Our girls played excellent. I cannot say enough great things about them. They really all played the best they could, they played very well together, and it showed tonight. I’m so proud of them.”

Belz and her players weren’t looking at Monday’s game against their archrivals as a must-win if they hoped to get back into the title hunt in the National Conference standings – even though the win vaulted the Golden Hawks into a three-way tie at the top with Rock North and Neshaminy.
“We don’t even really think about that,” the Golden Hawks coach said.
What the Golden Hawks were thinking about was finishing strong as they concluded a killer stretch of four games in six days that saw them play Neshaminy and William Tennent in hard-fought SOL contests and then face an undefeated Central Bucks South in a non-league game on Saturday night. They fell to the Redskins (1-0) and CB South (3-0) and defeated Tennent (1-0).
“We were just really worrying about every game at a time,” Belz said. “Going into today, we were coming off a loss on Saturday at CB South. We did not play well, and the girls realized some of the weaknesses we had and wanted to prove themselves today – not to anybody but themselves, and I think they did.”
Confidence, according to Belz, may have been the difference on Monday night.
“I don’t think the girls knew what to expect because we had never played CB South in the last few years,” the Golden Hawks’ coach said. “They knew they were undefeated and a very good team. CB South came down and got a bunch of corners on us early and put us back on our heels.
“Today, our goal was to get possession of the ball and get down there and get some corners, and we were able to do that. I think once we did that, we had a little bit of confidence.”
The Indians actually got on the scoreboard first after a goal by Alex Kuzma, who became the all-time Rock North points leader with 114 points (50 goals, 14 assists), and they took that 1-0 lead into halftime. The Golden Hawks knotted the score during corner play with 14:24 remaining in regulation. Alexis Carroll scored the equalizer when she connected during corner play (Donohue assist).
“It was unbelievable,” Belz said. “We actually executed our corners really well today. We haven’t been able to get a lot of turf practices because we share it with so many teams, so when we’re on the turf, we try and get our corners together.
“Tonight they just clicked, and I was thrilled.”
Belz lauded the performance of several players in the win.
“Alexis Carroll played outstanding,” she said. “Defensive back Mary Melnick played really well, and (senior midfielder) Colleen Curlin had a great stick. She was low, she was able to force fouls, and she was just very consistent and precise tonight.”
The Golden Hawks held a 10-7 edge in shots. Rock South goalie Kelly Schlupp was credited with four saves while Rock North’s Julia Singer had six saves.
Both teams are now 6-1 in conference play. The Indians are 7-3 overall while the Golden Hawks are 8-3.
To read Karen Sangillo’s complete game story, please click on the following link:

The Ghosts had the better of play on the field but could not find the cage, thanks in no small part to the standout effort in goal of Bensalem’s Stephanie Unger, who turned away 17 shots in the shutout.
“Stephanie played yet another great game in goal against Abington,” Bensalem coach Amanda Tu said. “Her knowledge of the game has grown tremendously, and her work ethic is outstanding.
“Stephanie’s aggressiveness and determination to keep the ball out of the net inspires the girls to continue working hard each and every play. She knows giving up is not an option, and you can definitely see that when she plays. Stephanie really came through for us today.”
Faith Geating was forced to make just four saves for the Ghosts.
The Ghosts are 1-4-2 in league play (2-4-2 overall) while the Owls are 0-6-1 in the league (0-6-2 overall).

Rachael Mueller connected for the hat trick while teammate Colleen McCabe added a pair of goals. Kendal Brasch, Sam Huttick, Maddie Reid and Meghan Izak each added single goals to close out the scoring. The Panthers held a 24-1 advantage in shots.
Tennent improved to 4-3 in the league (5-4 overall) while the Tigers fell to 1-5 in league play (2-5 overall).

Continental Conference

Coach Peach Draper and her players – if given the choice – would undoubtedly opt to start every game with a 7v7 overtime and forget about playing 60 minutes of regulation.
Three times in seven SOL games the Panthers have gone to overtime. Three times they have walked away with wins with Monday’s heartstopper the latest in a thrilling sequence.
“I can’t take it – it’s so exciting,” Draper said. “It was under the lights, and both teams were playing really, really hard.
“We were on tonight. Our passes were connecting, and our shots were on. We had a lot of shots that we just missed, but they were on target. We were playing as a team. Everyone was having one of their best games.”
The Panthers won this one with 2:10 remaining in the 15-minute OT period when Josh Schwarz scored the game winner on a superb individual effort.
“It was back and forth in overtime,” Draper said. “Finally, right outside the 25-yard line, he just took it in – dodged three players. The goalie pulled to the right, and he shot it into the left post.”
The two teams actually battled to a 0-0 halftime tie with Quakertown’s Emma McLaughlin breaking that tie when she connected at the 28:17 mark of the second half, using a Jordan Popynski assist. The goal was the eighth in nine games for the freshman standout.
Five minutes later, the Indians knotted the score on a goal by Erin Saybolt. Just as they had a corner to close out the first half, the Panthers also drew a corner as time was about to expire in regulation. They could not convert as Souderton’s defense held.
“We were excited about our chances in overtime,” Draper said. “We have some really, really fast players that are in really good shape.
“That’s the difference this season with our team. They came into preseason in shape and wanting to get better every single (day).”
Maddie Calder turned away seven shots in goal for the Panthers. Draper lauded the performances of several players in the big win, including freshman forward Becky Gerhart, forward Sara Reigh and senior captain and defender Jessica Wheelin.
While the Indians saw their record drop to 4-3 in league play (4-4 overall), the Panthers improved to 3-4 in the league (5-4 overall).
“It’s finally coming together,” Draper said. “This program is finally turning around. It’s exciting to see.
“I’ve been waiting patiently, and it’s great to see these underclassmen score these goals, and the upperclassmen staying consistent and being leaders and everyone just staying together. I’ve been waiting for this program to turn around, and it’s finally happening.”

In yet another SOL thriller, the Rams battled the Maidens to a 1-1 tie. Jess Tennett turned a pass from teammate Ben Van Pelt into a goal at the 11:51 mark to send the Rams into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The Maidens rallied to knot the score with 6:37 remaining when Shannon Talbot (Casey O’Donnell assist) scored, setting the stage for a scoreless overtime.
The Rams had the better of play on the field, holding a 17-8 advantage in shots and an 11-8 edge in corners.
Maiden goalie Chessa Kownurko had a big night in goal, turning away 12 shots while Sarah Seiler had five saves for the Rams.
The Maidens are 2-4-1 in league play (2-6-1 overall), and the Rams are 1-5-1 in the league (3-5-1 overall).
Sparked by Heather Zezzo’s hat trick, the Bucks exploded for seven goals to earn the big win over the Hatters. Senior Ginny Moore added a pair of goals while junior Erik Fiorelli and sophomore Kim Hitchcock both scored one goal.
“It was a fantastic team showing,” West coach Casey Hughes said. “We played well and were connecting with beautiful passing combinations.”
Hughes lauded the standout play of midfielder Elena Romesburg and also credited sophomore goalie Bri DeAngelis for making a sliding save on a 1v1 at the top of the circle in the second half.
Both teams are 4-3 in league play, deadlocked with Souderton in a three-way tie for second place. The Bucks are 7-3 overall while the Hatters fell to 4-4.

Amber Steigerwalt scored at the 27:09 mark of the first half, and that goal stood until the final whistle.
“We moved the ball well through the different channels today,” CB South co-coach Jeff Harding said.
The Titans held a decided advantage in shots (16-5) and corners (11-2).
CB East keeper Samantha Grzegorczyk turned away 15 shots while CB South’s Gina Brigo and Sarah Zezotarski were forced to turn away just two shots.
While the Patriots fell to 2-5 in league play (2-7 overall), the Titans upped their record to 7-0 in the league (10-0 overall).

American Conference

The Vikings were coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss to Cheltenham on Friday, and they took out whatever frustration they may have been feeling after that loss on the Flying Cardinals on Monday.
“It was an extremely disappointing loss,” coach Angie Yanocha said. “We were the better skilled team, but we couldn’t score.
“We played a not-so-great first half, dominated the entire second half – we scored in the first 30 seconds of the second half, but then we could not score again, so we were frustrated from Friday. We had practice on Saturday, and in our minds, this was it. This was our game.”
Dominique Gambone (Danielle SanFelice assist) scored within the first three minutes of the game, and the Vikings were off and running. A goal by Lindsay Zamites (Danielle Antonucci assist) sent Upper Merion into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
“We came out strong on our home field and just kind of held onto that momentum the whole game,” Yanocha said.
The Flying Cardinals cut that lead in half after a Jen Harchut score, but Dasia Araujo answered with back-to-back goals, the first with a Zamites assist and the second with an assist from Amanda McAteer, to put the Vikings on top 4-1. Gambone’s second goal of the day, also with a SanFelice assist, made it a 5-1 game.
“We came out a little bit flat in the second half, and that’s when they scored,” Yanocha said. “It was almost like the girls were ticked that they scored a goal on us, and they came back and scored three more.
“Our momentum was good, we had great passing, we were controlling the ball in the midfield, and we were really seeing the open players and taking beautiful shots on goal. Our corners were good, and we were taking advantage of the mistakes Upper Dublin was making and put in a solid two halves, and that was our goal. It was by far our best game of the season and one of our best wins of the season.”
Yanocha lauded the performances of several players.
“Amanda McAteer controls our entire midfield along with Kaitlyn Lutz,” the Vikings’ coach said. “Between the two of them, they just dominated the midfield, and our defense played well.”
Comprising the Vikings’ defense were Danielle SanFelice, Katie Schauble, Krysta Zadroga and Laura Persofsky.
“My goalkeeper (Devyn Antonucci) made some key saves in the first half,” Yanocha said. “They didn’t pressure us as much in the second half, but she made some real key saves and played one of her better games of the season.”
While the Flying Cardinals fell to 2-5 in league play (2-7 overall), the Vikings upped their record to 3-4 in the league (3-5 overall).

The Eagles received goals from five different players on their way to the convincing win. Vanessa Fosco got the ball rolling with a goal six minutes into the game, and Natalie Mitchell and Jennifer Menninger followed with goals, both with Fosco assists, to send the Eagles into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
Kerri Harner (Amelia Schunder assist) scored early in the second half, and Rachel Hagel followed three minutes later with a goal to put the Eagles on top 5-0. Harner’s second goal of the day (Monica Levins assist) closed out the scoring.
The Eagles held an advantage in shots (24-6) and corners (14-4).
Norristown goalie Jess Grose had five saves while Cheltenham’s Emily Hawkins had 16 saves.
While the Lady Panthers fell to 2-5 in league play (2-7 overall), the Eagles improved to 4-3 in the league (4-4 overall).

The Spartans used goals by Syd Campbell and Julie Cardamone to go on top 2-0 heading into halftime. Neither team scored in the second half as the Spartans held on for the shutout win.
“We played a hard game and were in it to the end,” said PW coach Andrea Carr, whose team had six shots on goal. “Springfield’s goalie did a nice job of clearing the ball.
“PW goalie Victoria Byrnes had some great saves as well.”
Byrnes is a freshman with just one year of experience in the cage.
While the Colonials fell to 4-3 in league play (4-5 overall), the Spartans upped their record to 7-0 in the league (8-0 overall).

Jackie Hibbs scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Trojans. Emily Gallagher and Angela Virtu each added single goals. Ashley Laskowitz contributed an assist.
For the Golden Bears, Rachel Felicetti and Kaitlin Taylor each scored a goal with Leslie Adeak and Alexa Wister providing.
Trojan goalie Claire Tarzia was credited with four saves while Upper Moreland’s Bridge Meade kept her team in it by turning away 26 shots in a superb outing in goal.
While the Golden Bears saw their record fall to 0-7 in league play (0-9 overall), the Trojans are 6-1 in the league (7-2 overall).