Top Seeded Friends School heads to the Championships
By: Donald Daniels
One week ago Catholic High went on the road and handed Friends a 3-2 loss on the last day of the regular season; things went a little bit different this time. The top-seeded Quakers got their revenge on Thursday afternoon defeating the Cubs 2-1 to in their IAAM C conference field hockey semi-final matchup.
Key School, who defeated Mercy 2-1 in the other semi-final contest, will take on Friends at 12 p.m. on Sunday at Archbishop Spalding for the C Conference championship. The Quakers are looking to win their first field hockey championship since 2004 when they were members of the B conference.
“If we want to be champions, we just have to play Quaker field hockey, Friends coach Baily Kerr said. “We just have to focus on what we do well and just play their game we have been playing since preseason.”
Catholic High goalie Mikaya Pallaso had five saves in the loss.
Friends (12-3 overall, 10-2 conference play) applied the offensive pressure early in the game forcing several corner opportunities, the Quakers finally broke through at the 18-minute mark when Maggie Linehan drove in the ball from ten yards out giving the home team an early one goal lead.
“Olivia just made a great play for me to get ball off a great pass and just stepped and was able to knock it in,” Linehan said.
The 1-0 advantage was protected by some strong defensive play from the Quakers as they were able to hold the lead heading into halftime.
The beginning of the second closely resembled the first as Friends once again went on the offensive creating excellent scoring chances, but couldn't convert as passes went out of bounds which kept the Cubs in the game.
Catholic High (7-9-1 overall, 4-7-1 conference play) knotted the game at the 18 minute and 15 second mark when Nene Jones scored from 15 yards away as the ball dribbled past several Quaker defenders and into the left cage.
“Being down by one goal at halftime when we are the fifth seed and they [Friends] are the first seed with a bunch of girls who never played field hockey before, we felt great. Catholic High coach Bo Morris said. “We relied on our speed and quickness and it was good to get the goal in the second half, but Friends is a really good team and I proud of the effort our team had today.”
Even though Friends had lost their lead, they were not deterred and continued to fight back. Ten minutes after Jones score the Quakers broke the tie once again with a Sophia Kessenich goal off of a ricochet shot putting up the Quakers up by a single tally.
“It was really hard to see the ball with so many people down at the goal, so once the ball popped I just went for it because you just can’t wait for it and I was able to get the goal,” Kessenich said.
The Cubs put up a valiant effort in the final two minutes and possessed the ball deep into Quaker territory, but were unable to turn passes into strong scoring chances thanks for the stout defensive effort by number Molly Gannt number Olivia Nengel and Grace Deller. With 20 seconds left, Friends was able to get the ball past midfield and away from their goal and were able to hold on to win. Now the Quakers turn their attention to Sunday with a chance win the title.
“We just have to play our game, finish every play, score goals and just out there and win,” Linehan said.