By Dave Kurtz
Courtesy of PAC-10Sports.com
For Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/9/12
Maddie Ward had just one goal in mind Tuesday night – and it had nothing to do with the major career milestone she was on the brink of achieving.
The Spring-Ford senior star was participating in the first PAC-10 Final Four tournament of her illustrious career, and the only numbers of any interest were the one flashing on the scoreboard at Owen J. Roberts North Field.
Ward had to like what she saw when the clock struck zero, a 17-5 verdict over Frontier Division champion Pottstown that sends the Rams to Thursday’s championship clash at Phoenixville (8 p.m.) against eight-time defending league champion Boyertown, which rolled to a 20-3 victory over Phoenixville in the girls’ semifinal opener.
“It was the last thing on my mind,” said Ward of reaching the 200-career goal plateau. “All we were thinking about was winning. Pottstown is a team that you can’t take lightly.”
The Rams’ singular focus was revealed by a lightning-quick start that produced an 11-1 lead late in the first half. Kira Gensler, who collected six goals and three assists, found the range off an assist from Sasha Wozniak (2 goals, assist) with 19:38 left in the first half to get Spring-Ford off and running.
Ward (3 goals, 4 assists) added her landmark 200thstrike less than a minute later, and the Rams kept coming, building a 5-0 advantage just 10 minutes into the lopsided affair.
“We usually come out slow,” said Spring-Ford coach Amy Short after her club improved to 15-4 overall and 12-2 in league outings. “But we took it right from the beginning. The girls played a near-perfect game.”
The flawless play hit a few potholes late in the first half when Pottstown’s Milan White (3 goals) and Danae Perrymond found the range to cut the gap to 11-3 at the break, but that would be as close as the Trojans (11-8 overall, 9-5 league) would get.
Gensler, Wozniak and Anna Charlebois connected in the first 6:30 of the second half, and the Rams never allowed their advantage to dip below 10 as the running clock was instituted.
“We were concerned with Pottstown’s speed and we knew we needed to stop Milan,” said Short. “We did a nice job. Everybody was catching the ball and everybody was shooting it. Our girls had it together.”
Ward, bound for Division I UMass on a lacrosse scholarship, was instrumental in that cohesive effort.
“Our connections are always important, and we work on possessing the ball,” said Ward. “We’ve never played in the semifinals before, and we wanted to take advantage of it.”
Boyertown 20, Phoenixville 3
The Bears rebounded from an early 2-1 deficit with 19 unanswered goals to extend their PAC-10 record winning streak to 123 and earn a shot at a ninth straight league crown.
“We had a little bit of a shaky start,” said midfielder Devyn Heidelbaugh, whose dominant draw control helped the Bears get things turned around quickly. “That gave us incentive to come together and keep working hard. Down 2-1, we knew that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. We had some dumb turnovers in the beginning, but we cleaned it up fast.”
The cleanup started with a goal by Rachel Engler, who finished with five strikes and an assist. Jaime Vincent followed with another goal moments later, and Boyertown was moving in a more familiar direction – fast-forward. It was 13-2 by halftime, and the only thing stopping the torrent of goals was the running clock in the second half.
“Phoenixville came to play, they were hanging right with us for a while in the first half,” said Boyertown coach Pam Wernersbach, whose club improved to 14-0 in league outings (15-4 overall). “They came out on fire.”
The Phoenixville fire was ignited by goals from Ange Hayde and Marlee Farbstein, but the flame was quickly extinguished as Boyertown flexed its substantial muscle with nine different players getting into the scoring column.
Haley Wentzel chipped in with four goals for Boyertown while teammates Kate DeHaven and Gabby Genuario added hat tricks.
“What saved us was our good team speed and our willingness to work,” said Wernersbach. “Devyn is one of our leaders and she helped us get it turned around with her draw controls. She plays hard all the time.”