SCH eighth-grader Maddi Ota tries to keep the ball on her still as Episcopal senior Courtnie Williamson looms behind her. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

SCH eighth-grader Maddi Ota tries to keep the ball on her still as Episcopal senior Courtnie Williamson looms behind her. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The toughest teams on Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s field hockey schedule are usually members of the Blue Devils’ own Inter-Ac League, and that notion was certainly borne out last Thursday afternoon on the SCH turf. Going up 3-0 in the first dozen minutes, the visiting Churchwomen cruised to a 4-0 halftime lead and ultimately a 5-0 victory, raising their record to 3-0 in league play and 16-0 overall.

The Blue Devils did make a number of forays into the Episcopal circle, but never got a shot past EA keeper Caroline Kelly. The Churchwomen are so efficient, they don’t need to dominate in terms of time of possession in order to roll up convincing victories.

SCH came out of the game with a league record that was the reverse of Episcopal’s, but the locals managed to remain above the .500 mark overall, at 5-4-1. They started out the season 3-0, beginning with a victory over the defending Friends Schools League champion, Academy of the New Church. The Devils have had to play all season long without senior Remi Filippini, who will sign with Colgate University but is currently sidelined following knee surgery.

Episcopal Academy is certainly not experiencing significant personnel problems. Three healthy seniors have their plans in place to play at top-tier NCAA programs, Maddie Bacskai for Princeton, Margaux Paolino for Duke, and Courtnie Williamson for the University of North Carolina. Bacskai and Paolino are members of the United States Under-21 Team. EA junior Corinne Zanolli (who has already given Stanford the nod), wields her stick for the U.S. Under-19’s.

Arriving at SCH last week, Episcopal was coming off a pair of significant victories, back-to-back wins over Lower Dauphin High School (3-2), a longtime midstate power with six PIAA championships to its name, and the Inter-Ac’s own formidable Academy of Notre Dame (2-0).

Last Thursday, both Bacskai and junior Lexi Fischer scored in the first three-and-a-half minutes. Zanolli made it 3-0 almost 12 minutes in, and Bacskai thumped the Blue Devils’ backboard again later on for a 4-0 halftime count.

Near the middle of the second period, SCH earned its second penalty corner of the afternoon, the sequence ending with Ally Marino clearing the ball out for EA. The Blue Devils stayed on offense, and junior Maggie King had a shot from the right side of the circle saved by Kelly. With 11:25 remaining, the final score went up on the board thanks to the visitors’ Maddie Rehak.

Players like seniors Mikaela Watson and Madi Saltzman and junior Mason Rode performed a lot of hard work for Springside Chestnut Hill. However, all three have made college commitments to play other sports, and overall, the Blue Devils have very few players who consider field hockey their primary athletic endeavor. For that reason, SCH usually finds itself at a disadvantage from the get-go when facing the top teams in the Inter-Ac.