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Agnes Irwin topples Episcopal Academy, 12-7, for PAISAA championship (with video highlights)

Thursday, 24th May 2018

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Harry Chaykun, Posted 5/24/18

Agnes Irwin coach Lauren Wray admitted she wasn’t happy when her team lost to Episcopal Academy three weeks ago.

Agnes Irwin wins the PAISAA Championship

“I was disappointed with the way we played them,” said Wray of a 10-8 loss that caused a tie for the Inter-Ac League championship between the Owls and EA. “Give credit to EA. We just had to do things differently this time.”

What Agnes Irwin did Thursday in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championship game at Cabrini University’s Edith Robb Dixon Field was take control of the game early and never let up, earning a 12-7 decision for its second consecutive state title – and third in four seasons.

The loss brought to a halt Episcopal Academy’s 16-game winning streak.

Senior Maria Pansini scored the Owls’ first two goals and put the finishing touches on her team’s win with a score seven seconds before the final whistle.

Her classmate, Sydney Wolfington, also got three goals, and sophomore Kacy Hogarth chipped in with three goals and two assists for the Owls (19-6).

“I’m proud of this team, especially all 11 of our seniors,” Wray said. “They gave us great leadership. It wasn’t just the defenders or the midfielders, but every single player out there was great playing in transition. And our defense caused so many turnovers (12).”

Pansini, who is headed to Princeton University, has helped the Owls to their three state championships in four seasons.

“I wanted to go out 3-1 not 2-2,” she said. “That’s how much this game meant to me. The last time we played them, I was more of a defender. We knew we didn’t start fast in that game and that we couldn’t do that today.

“I don’t ever remember when we’ve gotten so many turnovers. We practiced getting ready for their cutters (on attack). And I was happy to be a part of our attack again.”

After Pansini’s second goal, Wolfington scored a natural hat trick in the next 15 minutes. Hogarth’s first goal came 11 seconds before halftime, giving AI a 6-2 advantage.

“We were prepared to get off to a strong start today,” said Wolfington, a Penn State recruit. “We were more composed than the last time we played them. And everybody was united in doing what we wanted to do.”

Following goals by Natalie Pansini and Emily Wills early in the second half, Hogarth tossed in a pair to put the Owls up, 10-2.

Episcopal Academy would rally for four goals in less than four minutes – with Katie Crager scoring one and setting up another. Olivia Dirks, who had seven of her 11 draw controls after halftime, scored before Crager helped freshman Sarah Groark to a tally that trimmed the Irwin lead to 10-6 with 6:41 to play.

Alex Hark, who had a pair of assists in the first half, then came up with a big draw control for AI, which worked almost three minutes off the clock before Julianne Carey took advantage of an empty cage to cut off the Episcopal momentum.

“I was nervous when we were warming up,” Hogarth said. “When we got in the circle, you could feel the team chemistry. And everyone believed in each other and played with intensity for 50 minutes.

“Getting that big lead helped make a difference when they came back at us in the second half.”

Olivia Cunningham scored both of Episcopal Academy’s goals in the first half and got EA’s first score after halftime. Crager had two goals and one assist and Dirks chipped in with one goal and an assist in addition to all of her draw controls.

“We started working toward being here from the time we started practicing in March,” Wray said. “And this was a great way for the season to end.”

(See video highlights by Dave Cartularo, Philly Sports Video)

Agnes Irwin 12, Episcopal Academy 7
Agnes Irwin 6 6 – 12
Episcopal Academy 2 5 – 7

Agnes Irwin: Kacy Hogarth 3G 2A, Maria Pansini 3G, Sydney Wolfington 3G, Natalie Pansini 1G, Emily Wills 1G, Julianne Carey 1G, Alex Hark 2A.

Episcopal Academy: Olivia Cunningham 3G, Katie Crager 2G 1A,

Saves: Camilla Gowen (AI) 3; Tess McMullin (EA) 6.

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