By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/25/23
The good thing about Saturday morning’s matchup of undefeated teams should be that Owen J. Roberts and Conestoga probably will meet again in the postseason.
The bad thing about the contest, which Owen J. Roberts won, 9-4, is that the weather conditions were awful. Cold rain, which began not long after the opening whistle, and a stiff wind made things tough on the players and officials and miserable for the fans, who can look forward to warmer temperatures and a drier playing surface for the postseason.
But nothing deterred the Wildcats (4-0), who entered play ranked No. 10 by Phillylacrosse.com, but now have slayed two Central League powers, No. 8 Garnet Valley (13-1), and No. 2 Conestoga, in three days. Conestoga also was ranked No. 17 by Inside Lacrosse this week.
It took just under 10 minutes for OJR to build a 4-0 lead. After that, the Wildcats relied on their ball-control skills and strong goaltending from Korrigan Sweeney (8 saves) to prevent any comeback attempt by the potent Conestoga (3-1) attack.
“It was tough gripping the stick because it was so wet out there,” said Koury, who hopes to avoid these weather conditions next spring when she is playing at Florida. “We’re happy to have the chance to play a team like (Conestoga). We tried to take advantage of being able to do what we could against them and having things work out for us.”
Colby Wasson scored the first two Roberts goals, then assisted on a tally by Alexa Vogelman. Gabbi Koury was set up by Vogelman as she made the score 4-0, then five minutes later another Koury goal had ’Stoga down by five 10 minutes before halftime.
Freshman Carolyn Jones finished a crease roll to finally put the home team on the scoreboard in the 18th minute of the opening half. Kate Galica, assisted by Piper Kienzle, scored another goal for Conestoga 30 seconds later.
In the final minute of the half, Vogelman assisted on a goal by Laina Grimm to give OJR a four-goal halftime lead.
“Tough game today but losing always offers some good learning experiences and we have a lot to learn from this game,” said Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt. “OJR played outstanding today and they deserved the win.”
Koury and ’Stoga’s Galica were among a number of players from both teams who enjoyed plenty of success playing the past few summers with the NXT Black club team.
“It’s fun playing against players who were your teammates,” Koury said.
Vogelman (two assists) and Wasson (one assist) scored three goals apiece for the winners and Koury chipped in with two goals and an assist.
“We looked at film of (Conestoga) and knew they were a good team,” said Wasson, who also played for NXT Black. “We saw things like what they did on the circle.”
What Conestoga did on the circle in its 9-5 win over No. 3 Episcopal Academy Thursday was dominate draw controls in building a big lead in the opening half.
In Saturday’s game, Koury got four draw controls in the first half and finished with five for OJR. Chloe Brown and Ellie Wisch paced Conestoga with four draw controls, with Wisch getting three in the second half.
“Possession was so important for us,” said Wasson, an Xavier signee.
Both teams had shots bang off goalposts, with Conestoga’s Galica, Wisch and Kiki Liebezeit being denied as well as the Wildcats’ Vogelman.
“We’re happy to get a win over the defending state champion,” Owen J. Roberts head coach David Schlesinger said. “I was really looking forward to a game in which so many players from both sides were players I had coached for NXT.
“You know playing tough games help you get ready for the playoffs and all of those tough games you will have then.”
Junior goalie Sweeney got strong defensive help from Ashly White, Wasson and Avery Wentzel.
Galica scored two goals and Piper Kienzle added two assists for Conestoga (3-1).
Owen J. Roberts 9, Conestoga 4
Owen J. Roberts 6 3 – 9
Conestoga 2 2 – 4
Owen J. Roberts: Alexa Vogelman 3G 2A, Colby Wasson 3G 1A, Gabbi Koury 2 G 1A, Laina Grimm 1G.
Conestoga: Kate Galica 2G, Carolyn Jones 1G, Kiki Liebezeit 1G, Piper Kienzle 2A.
Goalies: Korrigan Sweeney (OJR) 8 saves; Paige Lee (Con) 1 save, Alex Lepore (Con) 1 save.