by Tom Utescher
Following a trip to Penn Charter last Thursday afternoon, the field hockey squad at Norwood Fontbonne Academy remained undefeated in the 2012 season, returning to Chestnut Hill with a 3-0 victory over PC’s middle school varsity team.
It took awhile for the visiting Bears to find the Quakers’ cage, but they scored twice in the last 12 minutes of the first period and added a third goal after halftime to attain an overall record of 5-0-2. Norwood tied Gwynedd Mercy and Germantown Academy, and defeated all of its other opponents, including Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
Penn Charter had opened its season with a victory over Friends Central, then succumbed to GA and Notre Dame. At the grade school level, Notre Dame is a member of the Girls Catholic Academies League, along with Norwood and Gwynedd.
The Bears will face Notre Dame this week, along with another solid Main Line squad in the league, Rosemont School of the Holy Child. At the end of the month, the league playoffs will culminate in the GCAL championship game, scheduled to be played at Springside Chestnut Hill.
In last Thursday’s non-league meeting Norwood pressed up on the attack early in the game, with occasional Penn Charter jaunts back across the midfield line led primarily by Quakers eighth-grader Julie Webb and sixth-grader Elisabeth Ross.
Neither squad got off a shot on its first penalty corner of the day. On Norwood’s second attempt, eighth-grader Elena Christen received the ball at the top of the circle and pushed it back down low, but the Bears couldn’t get a stick on the ball inside.
The visitors got close to the cage again thanks to a nice cross from the left wing by seventh-grader Lilly Gilmore. The ball got behind PC’s eighth-grade goalie, Janelle Sullivan, and the Quakers were lucky to have her alert classmate, Mary McClinchey, come in to clear the ball off of the goal line before Norwood could reach it.
The Bears kept attacking until they scored with a dozen minutes to go in the first half, with Christen converting off an assist from eighth-grade classmate, Margaret Lynch. Gilmore sent a shot just outside the left post with seven minutes left, and after another five minutes NFA found the Quakers’ cage to go up 2-0. From out on the right side near the endline, eighth-grader Michelle Nolan centered the ball, and Gilmore rushed the cage to knock it in.
After the intermission, Norwood kept up the pressure, but PC’s Sullivan deflected one shot wide to the left and made a kick save on another. The Quakers’ own offensive efforts were hampered by injuries to Ross and to seventh-grader Alexis Joseph, and Webb went down later on. The Bears posted their final goal with 15:33 left to play, with eighth-grader Daisy Slawek earning an assist on the strike by seventh-grader Jacquelyn Nyzio.
Ross returned late in the game to receive the insertion on PC’s final corner of the day. She directed the ball lower in the circle, but the Quakers couldn’t get off a shot. NFA, playing a number of subs at this stage, preserved the shutout for eighth-grade goalkeeper Audrey Hinchey.