Mount hockey finding tough going in league play

by Tom Utescher
Posted 10/27/20

A few weeks ago, Mount St. Joseph's field hockey squad launched its

COVID-adjusted 2020 schedule with an easy win over Villa Joseph Marie. Next came a 3-2 loss to the team that would emerge as the …

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Mount hockey finding tough going in league play

Posted

A few weeks ago, Mount St. Joseph's field hockey squad launched its

COVID-adjusted 2020 schedule with an easy win over Villa Joseph Marie. Next came a 3-2 loss to the team that would emerge as the league leader, Malvern's Villa Maria Academy. In that contest, the Mounties dug themselves a 2-0 hole in the first half and were unable to come all the way back against the Hurricanes.

The Mount Magic hoped to lift their record back into winning territory last week, but fortune did not smile on the local stickwomen, who would end this stretch with a record of 1-4.

A 2-0 road loss at Merion Mercy Academy on Thursday was sandwiched between a pair of setbacks against nearby rival Gwynedd Mercy. The Monarchs won at the Mount on Wednesday, 4-2, and then scored late in Saturday's rematch to prevail, 2-1, on their home field.

The Magic seemed to come out flat for the start of Wednesday's first Gwynedd game, and they paid a price thanks to the fired-up Monarchs. On a tip following the initial shot a corner play, Melanie McGill got Gwynedd on the board with less than five minutes elapsed, as Alaina McVeigh picked up the assist.

The Monarchs were up 2-0 just 90 seconds later, when Gabby Lorenzo set up a strike by Alex Wenz.

Mount St. Joe had also started slowly against Villa Maria, and after Wednesday's match head coach Sue Wentzel observed, "I think we were a bit scattered; we couldn't get ourselves focused in the right space today. There was a lot going on, with this rivalry and with this being our senior day."

The Mount looked to regroup as the second quarter got underway, but instead Gwynedd scored a third time, courtesy of Audrey Beck.

After this, the Mount was able to sustain a stretch of offensive pressure. The Monarchs were called for a deliberate foul in the circle, and on the resulting penalty stroke MSJ senior Megan Maransky scored at shoulder height on the left side. The Magic were on the board with 3:20 remaining in the second period, and the count remained 3-1 at halftime.

The hosts began the second half in a more aggressive manner, but several corners did not produce a quality shot on goal. They kept up the attack and closed the score up to 3-2 with 11:49 remaining in the third round.

Senior Meghan McGinley shot a ball that came back off of the Gwynedd goalie.

"The ball came off her pads and I was just there at the stroke line to put it in," related scorer Campbell Donovan, a Mount junior.

Late in the third period, though, Gwynedd was awarded a penalty stroke of its own, and McVeigh converted to put the final score of 4-2 up on the board.

The Monarchs were able to stay two steps ahead throughout the final frame. Early in round four, a Mount corner play involved a number of passes, but it was eventually broken up by Gwynedd's Caroline Caputo.

In another corner sequence later on, the Mount roofed a lift shot. At the other end of the field, MSJ junior Alyssa Brachelli made 14 saves in goal.

While a third marker for the Mount wouldn't have changed the outcome of this game, three goals could've won it for the Magic the following day at Merion Mercy. As it happened, though, the Mounties were shut out by the Golden Bears, 2-0, as Merion (coached by former Penn Charter star Gretta Ehret) stayed just a step behind league leader Villa Maria in the AACA standings.

Through all of these tough league games, Mount St. Joseph has played without defensive lynchpin Katie McCallum, who suffered an ankle injury in a club game has been in a cast most of the month. A senior tri-captain along with Maransky and McGinley, McCallum will go on to play for Brown University.

In last Saturday's match, Gwynedd once again got the jump on the Mount, receiving a goal from McVeigh about four minutes in. This time, however, the Magic were quicker to respond. On an aerial shot from the right side of the circle, Maransky leveled the scoreboard at 1-1 with 4:29 remaining in the opening quarter.

That tie remained on the board as the teams battled through three more periods. Just as it looked like overtime play was in the offing, McVeigh notched her second goal of the day in the final minute of regulation, giving Gwynedd a 2-1 victory.

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