SCH sticksters overcome Mount St. Joseph in overtime

by Tom Utescher
Posted 10/19/23

In a neighborhood scrap between two strong field hockey teams, Mount St. Joseph Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill proved very closely matched.

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SCH sticksters overcome Mount St. Joseph in overtime


In a neighborhood scrap between two strong field hockey teams last Thursday, host Mount St. Joseph Academy and visiting Springside Chestnut Hill proved very closely matched.

The tally remained 0-0 until late in the third quarter, when the visiting Blue Devils got on the board. The Magic tied the match in the middle of the fourth period, and the contest proceeded into overtime at 1-1. Here, the outcome was quickly decided, as SCH caged the game-winner in the first minute of the extra session.

It was senior Riley O'Donnell whose goal capped off the 2-1 win for the Devils. Her twin sister Kerry had scored the first goal of the afternoon, and freshman Caitlin Paul had tied it for the Mounties.

Going in, Mount St. Joe's had an overall record of 12-2 while Springside was 5-4-1, but the Blue Devils had played a stronger schedule, including two teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

Springside Chestnut Hill head coach Emilee Ehret happens to be a 2013 graduate of the Mount.

"This is kind of a crosstown rivalry, so I'm really happy with the win," she said after Thursday's game. "We've been playing some really tough competition and our schedule didn't allow for a lot of physical breaks. We finally had one early this week, but now we've got back-to-back games."

SCH had finished the first round of Inter-Ac League matches with a record of 2-2-1, while the Magic were well into the second go-round in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies. They were sitting second at 8-2, with both losses coming against Villa Maria Academy.

In the previous seven games prior to arriving at the Mount last week, Springside Chestnut Hill had gone 2-4-1, missing Kerry O'Donnell during most of this rough patch due to a bone bruise.

Like her coach, Ehret, O'Donnell will play college hockey for Penn State (as will her sister).

"She's our center back, and we really missed her when she was out," Ehret said. "You could see today how much we feed inside to her."

The Blue Devils should have been fired up to secure a victory last Thursday, but it didn't look that way in the early stages of the game as the Mount attacked frequently and ferociously.

The Magic produced the game's first shot and earned the first penalty corner. The first attempt went wide to the left, and later freshman Julia McGlynn's left-to-right cross in front of the cage found no teammates in scoring position.

SCH made a dangerous foray into the Mount circle in the middle of the first quarter, with Riley O'Donnell sending the ball down near the left post and senior classmate Madison Freeman almost getting the tip-in at the edge of the goal. It was still 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, and at halftime.

The visitors had been more assertive during the beginning and middle of the second period, but the Mounties had a strong finish. A hard shot from the right strayed outside the far post with under four minutes left, and on a late corner Paul was positioned at the top of the circle and drove a shot a little wide to the left.

Early in the third quarter SCH was awarded a pair of corners, but couldn't get off a shot. After real-time play ranged back and forth in the middle of round three, it was another restart on a corner that resulted in the game's first goal.

Junior Devyn Conlan received the insertion and hit the ball back toward the endline, then junior Veronica Goettner centered it to set up Kerry O'Donnell's goal. The goal came with one minute and 31 seconds left in the third quarter, and the Mount came out aggressively at the start of the fourth round, looking to tie the match.

With the exception of one fruitless SCH corner, the early part of the period presented a slow but steady drumbeat of balls shot by the Magic thudding off the leg pads of the Blue Devil's junior goalie, Colleen Conlan. The Springside keeper, who has verbally committed to play for the University of Massachusetts along with her twin sister, Devyn, piled up 15 saves in the game. Sophomore Lexi Kelly made three stops in the MSJ cage.

"Colleen was first team All-Inter-Ac last year as a sophomore," SCH's Ehret noted. "She's extremely athletic in goal and she's going to a top-20 program."

Ehret also praised the efforts of sophomore defender Nadia Gross, noting that she's been invited to the selection camp for the U.S. 16's national team.

Mount St. Joseph's fourth-quarter attacks paid off with 8:39 left in regulation play, when Paul shot from the left edge of the circle and had the ball go in high on the far side of the goal.

Two late SCH corners failed to break the 1-1 tie, and the game went into a 10-minute, sudden-victory overtime.

The extension lasted just 50 seconds, as Goettner earned her second assist of the afternoon on Riley O'Donnell's game winner.

UPDATE: On Friday Springside Chestnut Hill took on another AACA team, defeating Merion Mercy Academy, 4-0.