By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/11/23
Archbishop Carroll spoiled Owen J. Roberts’ attempt to defeat both defending PIAA champions this spring, earning an 8-6 decision over the visiting Wildcats Tuesday afternoon.
The Patriots (ranked No. 5 by Phillylacrosse.com) improved to 5-1 with the victory while No. 1 OJR, which knocked off 2022 PIAA Class 3A champ Conestoga, 9-4, a month ago, suffered its first setback after eight victories.
Senior goalkeeper Bridget Robinson turned away six shots in the opening half and four in the second half for Carroll, which did its best to counter the Wildcats’ speed by winning four of five draw controls in the second half, which allowed the Pats to maintain possession for long periods of time.
While Robinson was making some impressive saves and a key interception to thwart a second–half scoring chance, the Carroll defense unit played as well as it has all season.
“We knew coming into the game that (OJR) could score,” said Carroll coach Lorraine Beers. “I liked the way our defense held us together the way they have been doing all season.”
The Carroll defense included Henry, Ava and Chloe Bleckley, Sienna Golden, Ella Wright, Mary Matey, Meg Sheridan and Jayanna Ramsey-Williams.
“Our defense plays with so much heart,” said Robinson, who will head to Virginia to play at Longwood University. “We had a strong defense last year, but this group has really been coming together.
“They have people covered, and they put me in a position to be able to make those saves that I had today. Everybody was ready to play today. We knew we were playing a good team, but we knew if we played together we could win. It was all about playing our game.”
The first half ended at 5-5. Alexa Vogelman got three for Owen J. Roberts and Ava Bleckley countered with three for Carroll, the third coming two minutes before halftime to halt to a three-goal OJR run, during which Vogelman scored twice and Gabbi Koury had one goal and one assist. The Wildcats relied on seniors Callin Harrington, Koury, Avery Wentzel, Ava Clemson and Rachel Sbei and sophomore Ashly White to lead their defense in the face of a dozen Carroll shots.
Chloe Bleckley and Ava Bleckley each had two draw controls as the second half got under way, and Lainey Straub (from Henry) and Catie McConaghy (from Ava Bleckley) gave the defending Class 2A state champion Patriots a two-goal advantage after one minute and 42 seconds. Clemson scored for the Wildcats, assisted by Koury, with 19 minutes left, but the visitors would not get on the scoreboard again.
Six minutes later, Straub closed out the scoring for Carroll, with Ava Bleckley picking up her second assist. Then it was up to the Pats defense to hold back any Wildcats surge.
With 10 minutes to play, Robinson shut off an OJR threat by stealing a Wildcats pass from behind the cage. Four minutes later, after Carroll had lost Matey to a leg injury, the Patriots turned the ball over, only to have Henry get it right back.
Down the stretch, it was Wright in the right place to make a steal for the home team and then to cause a turnover.
“We had been talking about (Owen J. Roberts’) ranking, but Coach Beers shut that kind of talk down,” Ava Bleckley, a James Madison University commit, said. “I think we realize that where anybody is ranked now isn’t as important as how they are ranked in June at the end of the season.
“We wanted to take control of the game in the second half and then make sure we were patient with our offense and let things happen. The best thing about this team is that we have people who can score and people who can go and get the ball when we need to get it back.
“We’re happy to get a win in this game today.”
Archbishop Carroll 8, Owen J. Roberts 6
OJ Roberts 5-1-6
Alexa Vogelman 3g, 3gb, 2ct, 2dc
Gabbi Koury 1g, 3a, 5gb, 2dc
Laina Grimm 1g, 1gb
Ava Clemson 1g, 2gb, 1ct, 3dc
Cailin Harrington 2gb, 2ct
Rachel Sbei 2gb, 2ct
Keira Clemson 2gb, 1ct
Avery entzel 2gb, 1ct
Kalli Mullen 1gb
Korrigan Sweeney 10 saves
Ava Bleckley 3g, 2a, 1dc
Lainey Straub 2g
Chloe Bleckley 1g, 3dc
Sam Hewitt 1g
Cate McConaghy 1g
Machaela Henry 1a, 1dc
Sienna Golden 1dc
Ella Wright 1dc
Bridget Robinson 10 saves