by Tom Utescher

A pair of contests last Tuesday afternoon ended the 2012 season for the field hockey and girls soccer teams at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Although both squads encountered some rough going this fall, each franchise has a group of talented young players who’ll be back next year.

The Lions’ field hockey team closed out the current campaign in the opening round of the Pa. Independent Schools Tournament, where ninth-seeded SCH was facing number eight Academy of the New Church, the 2012 Friends Schools League champion. It was still 0-0 at the half, then a second period marker for ANC (also nicknamed the Lions) was put up by Cheyanne Asplundh, and it proved to be the game-winner.

Owners of a 6-14 overall record, Springside Chestnut Hill had finished 2-10 within the Girls Inter-Ac League, notching both of its wins against the Baldwin School, 6-4 and 3-0.

“We were a young team, so next year I think we’ll be a lot stronger,” said Megan Cipollone, who coached the Lions along with Jenny Weir. “Being first-year coaches we needed to get to know the kids and how they play together.”

Cipollone, a 2007 Germantown Academy graduate who played with Weir at Virginia’s Lynchburg College, pointed out steps the players can take in the offseason to improve their performance.

“They just need to get more experience playing,” she said. “A lot of them didn’t really play club hockey at all and didn’t play much over the summer. The girls seem interested in doing more work in the offseason, especially since we now have our own turf [field] we can use all year around.”

The SCH girls soccer team did not enter the Pa. Indy Schools tournament; the Lions’ game last Tuesday was the final match on their Inter-Ac schedule, and they succumbed to Germantown Academy, 2-1.

Strikes by junior Marley Sternberg and senior Nicole Gilmore gave the Patriots a 2-0 advantage at the interlude, then sophomore Sinead Brierley got the Lions on the board with an assist from freshman Meghan McCool, the team’s high scorer.

The outcome gave Springside Chestnut Hill a final Inter-Ac mark of 2-10, and the team went 5-15 overall. The Lions picked up their two league victories by sweeping the Academy of Notre Dame, 1-0 and 5-2.

“We were extremely young, with a lot of freshmen and sophomores seeing a lot of playing time,” pointed out fifth-year coach Jerry Hartey. “We didn’t have a great deal of depth, and that meant that whenever we had someone out sick or injured, we had to put in a player with very little varsity experience. It takes time to learn to play at the varsity level.”

Hartey added, “Another thing that stemmed from our lack of experience was that we were inconsistent. We played two one-goal games against GA, one of the better teams in the league, then against some teams that were not nearly as talented, we didn’t play well at all.”

The highly-skilled McCool, who plays in the Penn Fusion club program, scored a total of 23 goals during the season, but her high profile among the Lions meant that she drew a lot of attention from rival defenses.

“Teams focused on her,” Hartey said, “and we didn’t really have another scorer close to her level to help take some pressure off of her.”

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