Unionville emerges from Owen J Roberts play day having passed first test of season
By Dave Conard Sports Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
BUCKTOWN—On the schedule it may have been down as a play day, where a bunch of teams get together to put the finishing touches on training camp and a final tune up for the regular season.
For the Indians, who finished as district runner up last season thanks to the Wildcats, who claimed their first District One title in school history, Saturday’s match up with host team Owen J. Roberts was the highlight of the day.
“These girls want to win the game with them (Owen J Roberts),” said head coach Beth Wheeler. “A play day like this is a great opportunity to see what we need to work on, there are some really good caliber teams here that are the real deal.”
With five 30-minute games slated on the docket, Unionville opened the day’s action with a 1-0 win over North Penn with Izzy McDonough posting a goal ten minutes into the tilt, with Katie Roger posting the shut out.
“This is a lot of fun, we have been really playing together,” said senior captain Kayja Hansen. “We want to set the tone for the season here today as these are some team that we may see during the playoffs.”
In round two, Oley Valley’s speed presented some challenges, as the Lynx were able to give the Indians a taste of their own game.
Unionville countered with sophomore Logan Perkins, senior Annabeth Donovan and sophomore Izzy McDonough buzzing the Oley Valley net constantly as the class AAAA squads battled to a 0-0 tie as senior Morgan Cassidy minded the pipes.
As the Indians had a chance to cool down for a bit with a break in the schedule, it gave Unionville time to get ready for the main event, the match up with the Wildcats, who rolled to back-to-back wins in their opening games.
In a game in which the intensity more resembled a PIAA playoff game than a scrimmage, Annabeth Donovan took a feed and broke in all alone to post the Indians to a 1-0 edge six minutes into the contest.
Wildcats sniper Heather Morris, who will more than likely spend part of the season playing in the Pan American games for team U.S.A, scored two goals to tie the game at two apiece, after Izzy McDonough put home a great feed from Logan Perkins.
“We wanted to win this game,” said McDonough. “We all remember last season and the district final, we want to set the tone early on and attack.”
Following goals by Katja Hansen and McDonough’s second tally of the game, Unionvile carried a 4-3 lead into the final moments of the tilt.
As if a pre cursor to what very well be a district final again in 2012, the game ended with Morris firing a ball just barely wide on a penalty corner after time had expired, preserving a 4-3 Indians win.
“I especially liked the way we kicked up the intensity and urgency in that game,” said Wheeler. “I was very proud of the way we attacked right from the start and were able to keep the energy level up the entire game, even after already playing two games prior.”
After exorcizing the demon that was the Wildcats, the Indians got an opportunity to face off against Ches-Mont rival and 2011 District One qualifier Avon Grove, whose season ended last year on the very turf at OJR.
Again it was McDonough that lifted Unionville to a 1-0 win with a goal on a deflection off of a Red Devils player to push the Unionville record to 3-0-1 with the finale with Donegal High School to follow.
“I was very impressed with the way they came out,” said Owen J Roberts head coach Clarence Jennelle. “They had a definite plan and executed it very well, they have most of their girls back and it shows, they looked great.”
“We really wanted to win this game,” said senior Alex DiFelice, who will be the subject of this week’s “Top of the Tribe”. “We have set goals for the season and the first of those is to get back to the district playoffs and as a team finish what we started last season.”