By Dave Kurtz
Courtesy of PAC-10Sports.com, Posted 5/10/13
It wasn’t exactly a day at the beach for the Boyertown girls, but the PAC-10 dynamo still found a way to Hang Ten.
Riding the wave of eight unanswered strikes in the second half, the Bears turned a precarious one-goal lead into a 19-12 victory over Owen J. Roberts in the Pioneer Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse championship showdown Thursday evening at Phoenixville’s Washington Field.
The final margin was misleading as nothing came easy for Boyertown, which clinched its 10th straight league title and extended its winning streak to a mind-boggling 139 straight against PAC-10 competition.
The gritty Wildcats, who got five goals and one assist from Devin Hassinger, were clearly in it to win it, ripping off a 3-0 run midway through the second half to close within 11-10 on Gabby Delgatto’s strike off a free position with 12:41 left.
But the Bears responded to the challenge and showed their championship pedigree by pulling away with the eight-goal blitz that included four tallies from Rutgers recruit Rachel Engler during a 9-minute, 25-second stretch.
“We started coming together and raised our intensity,” said Engler, who finished with six goals and one assist. “I had a rough start, but I got off that and just wanted to prove myself.”
Consider it done.
Wth Kait DeHaven (2 goals, 4 assists) winning nearly every draw, the Bears got their lethal transition game in high gear during the tide-turning spurt.
“We knew we had the ability to do it,” said DeHaven, who assisted on two of Engler’s goals during the run. “The pressure was on, going for the 10thstraight title, but we kept our composure. We were a little nervous, but that just fueled the fire.
“We expected a fight – Owen J. is a really strong team. We had the timeout and then we put all of our heart and soul into the game. We kept our heads and brought it back.”
Boyertown (17-2), which got a solid performance from junior midfielder and groundball-retrieving machine Marie Valenti, took control early, racing out to a 4-0 lead in the opening 9 minutes and settling for an 8-4 edge at the break.
It was 11-7 after Annie Rodgers (3 goals, assist) connected off an assist from Alex O’Herrick at the 17:49 mark of the second half before the Wildcats made their move. Hassinger got It going with a goal off a beautiful feed from Jess Harsch (one goal, 4 assists), then Kerry Huzzard and Delgatto followed suit. OJR, which had dropped both regular-season meetings with the Bears by lopsided scores of 18-6 and 16-7, had the momentum.
But that all disappeared quicker than a rabbit in a Las Vegas magic show.
“It was a gut check for us and our seniors really stepped up,” said Boyertown coach Pam Wernersbach. “They knew what was on the line. We stayed composed, Kait had some great feeds, and Rachel finished them off.”
The strong finish masked a commendable performance by the Wildcats (16-4), who were outshot 28-23. “The score isn’t really reflective of the way we played,” OJR coach Amy Stone said. “We were right there, down one goal. But we were facing a seasoned program, and they just turned it on at the end. Their shooters and players are just phenomenal.
“We were honored to be here and represent Owen J. Roberts in this championship game. Boyertown is a veteran team that is experienced in games at this level. Their skilled players just stepped up when they needed to.”
Boyertown 19, Owen J. Roberts 12
Owen J. Roberts
Jess Harsch 1g, 4a
Maddie Gebert 1g, 1a
Morgan Stone 1g
Devin Hassinger 5g, 1a
Kerry Huzzard 2g
Katie Dempsey 1a
Gabbie Delgatto 1g
Jordyn Shoemaker 1g
Devon Hennessey 6 saves
Haley Wentzel 3g, 1a
Annie Rodgers 3g, 1a
Kait DeHaven 2g, 4a
Rachel Engler 6g, 1a
Marie Valenti 1g
Alex O’Herrick 2g, 1a
Lauren Mengel 1g
Emma Morgan 1g, 1a
Katie Buckwalter 5 saves