|GAME DATE||SPORTS||GAME TYPE||OVERTIME|
|September 28th 2021||Field Hockey - Girls||League Game||No|
There was nothing typical about the lead up to this game. Pennsbury set out for Pennridge late in the afternoon for an hour plus bus ride and arrived with about fifteen minutes to spare for JV to warm up for their game, which was being played first. The varsity team, used to playing first, settled in to cheer and support their teammates during the early game, and as darkness fell they prepared for their first battle at night on turf under the lights. The Pennridge stadium has a great vibe and it was exciting to be there at night, but coach, Traci Curtis, could not help but wonder how her team would respond to the situation. Our home game on Friday was canceled because our grass field was too wet and then the weekend was upon us. Yesterday we practiced on turf to get ready, but we were worried about the girls being in the right mindset with the three days off in conjunction with the other non-typical facets of today's match up. The Falcons responded with nothing but strength as they notched the first goal of the game halfway into the first quarter. Reagan Ward tapped one in, sending a message that they were ready to fight no matter what was sent their way. With 3:35 left in the first quarter, Meg McClure sent a beautiful cross ball into the circle and EB Rafferty one timed it, passed the Pennridge goalie with authority. The orange and black held onto that 2-0 lead through the second quarter, into half time, and all through the third quarter as well. It was a pretty evenly matched fight going end to end the whole time. Pennridge had more corner opportunities throughout, but Pennsbury's defense held up incredibly well, supported by the dominating performance by goalie, Jordan Vradenburgh. Pennsbury had more shots on goal, but the Rams had really strong sticks everywhere. Little did anyone know that the game was FAR from over. It was the Rams' turn to light up the scoreboard. Those girls dug their heels into the ground and gave PHS the horns. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Pennridge scored on a tip in the circle making it 2-1. There was so much game still left to play, you could feel the tension rise on the Falcons' sideline. Both teams were playing great hockey - it was so exciting to watch and the intensity was at full tilt. With 5:49 left to play in regulation, Pennridge earned a corner and scored from the top of the circle tying the game 2-2. The crowd went wild! When that goal went in and the fans lost their mind, my heart sank, said Curtis. I've seen this before so many times and was literally running through speeches in my head that I would have to give if we lost in this way. I knew that we were in trouble. Giving up a lead in the end like that is so often how you find yourself on the heartbreaking side of a game losing headline. Not with this group. Not today. One minute after Pennridge tied it up, PHS senior, EB Rafferty, found her way into the circle using breakneck speed and dumped a pass to Liz Jordan who tipped it in. The selflessness exhibited in that pass was beautiful and everything I love about this game and these players. We are getting smarter, stronger, more intentional, and reading and reacting to game situations like never before. The Falcons were up 3-2 and were not ready to stop - there were still five minutes to play. Pennridge did not let up at all, firing shots and getting penalty corners making it a serious nail biter! The Falcons earned only two penalty corners the whole game and one of them was with 1:15 left in regulation. Curtis could not be more proud of the execution of those two corners, but especially that final one that ended in a fourth goal. Junior, Molly Murray, perfectly placed the ball for senior captain, Sophia Curtis to get her shot off. Curtis did not score the goal, but put it on pads and Liz Jordan finished it off scoring her second goal of the game. Pennsbury kept composure and handled the ball well until the final buzzer walking away with a 4-2 victory. Pennridge played an awesome game - to come back like that is admirable. They should be so proud and keep their heads up. They made us work so hard for every single minute of that game. Our coaching staff is proud of everyone for so many different reasons. Jaclyn Gorgo contributed for the entire 60 minutes, Olivia Graebner owned the center of the field like a champ, Rylie Borgman steps onto the field and just gets the job done every time, Sophia Curtis keeps the defense glued together. Meg McClure works magic, Helena Sosa had an amazing defensive save. Molly Murray is a crazy smart player who just does what is asked of her and does it well. Gabby Darling is the brickest of brick walls in the back and Jordan Vradenburgh was born to be in the goal cage. Rafferty and Liz Jordan teamed up to make things happen out there for us in addition to Reagan Ward, Jenna Outcalt, Pranita Madaka, Lily Morgan, Riley Henderson, and Chelsea Todd. It was a full team effort guided by the underlying principle that everyone owns their role and carries it out. Our bench was incredible tonight as well - you could feel the positive energy rippling from the bench to the field and that was impacting and so important. Pennsbury will now get ready to return home to face Souderton on grass Thursday and then turn around and play on turf again as they travel to CB West on Friday.