Patriots and Devils don masks for final field hockey outing

by Tom Utescher
Posted 11/25/20

Earlier in the brief 2020 field hockey season, Germantown Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy had each beaten the Penn Charter squad by one goal. That led many people to expect a very close …

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Patriots and Devils don masks for final field hockey outing

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Earlier in the brief 2020 field hockey season, Germantown Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy had each beaten the Penn Charter squad by one goal. That led many people to expect a very close contest last Thursday, when the GA Patriots hosted the SCH Blue Devils for the final game of the fall campaign.

That's not quite what transpired, as the Pats scored twice in the first quarter and twice in the third to take a 4-0 lead. In the fourth period the Devils put up two goals in a little over a minute, but Germantown had the last word to come away with a 5-2 victory.

Following a new COVID-19 guideline that had just been introduced, the players wore facemasks during actual competition on the field.

Thursday's victory allowed the Patriots to finish up with a winning record, at 3-2. Even if a normal 2020 season had been feasible, GA would've been in rebuilding mode after graduating no fewer than nine seniors off of its 2019 roster.

Springside Chestnut Hill lost fewer players, but one of them was Shannon McNally, a multi-year starter in goal who was one of the relatively few club players on the team. This fall, the Conlan twins have arrived at SCH, both club players for the W.C. Eagles. Devyn Conlan has stepped in as the Devils' goalie, and sister Colleen plays out on the field.

While Germantown Academy head coach Jackie Connard is in the sixth season of a successful run with the Patriots, SCH mentor Emilee Ehret started working with the Devils just last year. She and her two assistants in 2019 were all 2013 graduates of Mount St. Joseph Academy. Those two assistants have moved on, and helping out this year is yet another former Mount classmate of Ehret's, Ali Waters.

In last week's season finale, host GA immediately began putting pressure on SCH keeper Conlan, who had recorded 37 saves against unofficial league champ Episcopal Academy.

The Patriots got on the board with 6:31 remaining in the first quarter, thanks to sophomore Gracen Brandt. Assisting on the goal was senior standout Sophie Towne, who has signed with Georgetown University. Another GA senior, Charlotte DiLello, allowed her team to end the quarter with a 2-0 advantage, scoring with just 35 seconds left.

The first half would conclude with the score still 2-0. SCH came up just a little short in an attempt to break the shutout when senior Noa Haims had a shot strike the left post of the Patriots' cage. In goal, Germantown has had sophomore Emily Spillane step up to fill the vacancy left by the graduation of two-year starter Olivia McMichael.

Springside Chestnut Hill earned the first penalty corner of the third quarter, but Towne flew out for GA to break up the Blue Devils' play. In the aftermath of a Patriots corner with a little over 10 minutes remaining, freshman Lucy McFadden made it 3-0 with 9:51 on the clock, getting an assist from junior Sydney Cameron.

Just 90 seconds later, the count was 4-0. Towne sent the ball across the front of the cage from the right side of the circle, and sophomore Claire McMichael finished with a reversed stick at the left post.

The Blue Devils finally broke up the GA shutout with six minutes remaining in the final quarter, when Devyn Conlan scored on a solid drive from the middle of the Patriots' circle. With 4:48 remaining, the visitors found the goal again from out of a large crowd of players in front of the GA cage. The marker was credited to Haims.

The scoring for the afternoon was completed with 2:39 left on the clock, when a transition play for Patriots wrapped up with senior Ella Brandt delivering the ball down low to junior Bri O'Hara for a tip-in.

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