by Tom Utescher
Playing a pair of home hockey games last week against league opponents of different abilities, Mount St. Joseph Academy prevailed against Merion Mercy, 2-1, and then drilled St. Basil, 6-0, remaining undefeated both in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies (10-0) and overall (11-0).
Allie Sabia, a senior from Norwood Fontbonne Academy, and Chrissy Pascali, a ninth-grader fresh out of St. Philip Neri in Lafayette Hill, furnished the two goals against Merion’s Golden Bears on Wednesday, and each scored once in the bout with Basil’s on Saturday morning. Sabia’s twin sister Brooke put in two goals against the Panthers, as did Anne Burgoyne, a junior and another Norwood alum.
In goal for the Magic, sophomore Christina Black (a St. Philip grad) made a total of three saves for the two wins last week.
Back in mid-September, Burgoyne and junior classmate Emilee Ehret found the net at Merion to fuel a 2-0 Mount victory.
Allie Sabia said that despite the successful outcome, “Our passes were kind of off. We were hitting them on diagonals and we weren’t passing stick-to-stick.”
She said that last Wednesday, “We wanted to make sure our girls were coming back to get open passes. Just in general, we wanted to come out a lot stronger than we did over there.”
Merion made an offensive push as the game got underway, but the Magic soon took control. Back on their heels, the Golden Bears called time-out in the middle of the first half, but when play resumed the Magic earned a few more penalty corners and continued to dominate play. However, a 5-0 edge in corners didn’t translate into any points on the board for the Magic, and it was still 0-0 at the intermission.
When the teams went back out on the field, it took the Mounties just 75 seconds to get rid of the goose egg on their side of the scoreboard. Positioned in front of the Bears’ den a little left of center, Pascali collected a pass from Burgoyne and banged the ball home.
The visitors responded quickly, while the Magic were sill basking in the glow of their icebreaker. Merion freshman Meg Sack squared the score at 1-1, still with less than three minutes elapsed in the new period. After that, the Mount once again enjoyed long stretches of ball possession, and at the 15-minute mark the Magic had already earned four corners and the Bears called time-out once more.
Following the tying goal, the visitors didn’t spend much time in the Magic’s half of the field the rest of the game.
“We were looking out for some individual players on their team,” Sabia explained. “We wanted to be aware of Katrina Keating and Courtney Devine and Lizzie Sack because they’re the main distributors for Merion.”
Another MSJ corner went in the books, then the Magic scored the winning goal in real-time play, with Allie Sabia shooting the ball over into the right side of the cage from a few yards in front of the left post. Just over a dozen minutes remained in the game, and Mount St. Joe continued to attack.
The final tally in corners was 17-0, and MSJ’s Black only needed to make one save for the victory. At the other end, Bonnie McShane turned aside nine shots for Merion.
The Mounties knew they were facing a less challenging opponent on Saturday, but they had an undefeated season on the line and hockey can be a quirky sport.
“We didn’t want to lose, and last time against Basil’s we only won 3-0,” Sabia said. “We said to ourselves we can’t just come out and lollygag.”
The Panthers penetrated the Mount circle at the very beginning and the very end of the game, but in between the Magic ruled the field and pumped in half-a-dozen goals. Ten minutes in, sophomore Millie Stefanowicz passed the ball inside the top of the circle and Brooke Sabia drove a shot into the backboard.
A dozen minutes later, Burgoyne tallied from a few steps closer to the Panthers’ cage. The scoring for the opening period ended with a Norwood trifecta, with Burgoyne passing the ball from the right side to the near post for Brooke Sabia, who sent it across the front of the goal to set up sister Allie’s shot.
The MSJ offense quickly went back to work after the interlude, and Pascali punched one in from the right post to make it 4-0. A bullet by Brooke Sabia followed, and Burgoyne capped off the scoring with a shot from about five yards out.
Junior goalie Christine McIntyre racked up 15 saves for the Panthers, while Black made two stops for the Magic.
Since an undefeated season is nearly impossible to achieve, will there be such a thing as a good time for the Mount to lose a game?
“I don’t think about that; I hope we don’t lose at all,” Sabia said. “So far we’ve beaten the teams we needed to beat, and I think we all just want to take it as far as we can.”