Blue Devils’ goalie Shannon McNally and her defenders go into action on an Agnes Irwin penalty corner. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Last Thursday the girls on the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy field hockey and soccer teams played at home on adjacent fields, and both games against visiting Agnes Irwin School ended with 3-0 scores.

The Blue Devil booters came out on top in their encounter with the Owls, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half and then going on to earn three much-needed points in the Inter-Ac standings. With just one more school to play in the first round of league games (against Notre Dame in a postponed contest), SCH had a 2-1-2 record that translated into eight points.

In field hockey, the specialized set of skills gives an advantage to teams with a number of athletes who play the sport in a club setting in addition to the two months or so of the scholastic season. Springside Chestnut Hill, with a squad made up largely of lacrosse players, runs into difficulties when facing teams with more than a few year-round hockey players.

The Blue Devil sticksters started out this season with a pair of non-league victories and then opened the Inter-Ac with a 5-0 win at Penn Charter. Playing without several regular starters, the Blue Devils acquitted themselves fairly well in a 3-0 loss to 2017 Pa. Independent Schools runner-up Germantown Academy. However, Inter-Ac losses last week to Episcopal and Irwin sent SCH into the first weekend of October with a 1-3 record.

Earlier in the week, the SCH soccer squad hosted Episcopal Academy in a rematch of the finalists in the Pa. Independent Schools tournament. As in the 2017 PAIS championship game, SCH scored first, thanks to eighth-grader Louie McIntyre. This time, though, the Blue Devils were unable to hold the lead; EA scored late in regulation and the 1-1 tie held up through the standard overtime periods.

Sophomore goaltender Julia Wilbekaitis follows through on a punt upfield to her teammates. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Thursday’s opponent, Agnes Irwin, was a team Springside Chestnut Hill was expected to beat, but they had to make sure they buckled down and collected three points with a win so that other league teams (such as 5-0 Germantown Academy) didn’t get too far ahead.

McIntyre set up the first goal by assisting her classmate Bella Torres with the score, and a little before halftime freshman Maya McDermott added an insurance goal off of a pass from sophomore JoJo McShane. After the intermission the young players kept producing for the Blue Devils, with freshman Lauren Sullivan capping off the day’s scoring following touches by Torres and McDermott.

The field hockey Devils had encountered longtime league power Episcopal Academy on Tuesday, and quickly found themselves in a deep hole. In the second half hopes for a shutout on the part of the Churchwomen were foiled when SCH sophomore Ainsley Rexford converted on a penalty stroke.

Two days later the Irwin Owls did not pounce quite as quickly, but still SCH had to call time-out after the visitors scored their second goal with 12:44 remaining in the first half.

The Blue Devils made a number of offensive thrusts during the game, but they couldn’t quite get things to click in the scoring circle. With 4:10 remaining, the 3-0 final went up on the board as Irwin freshman Ariana Karalis shot her third goal of the afternoon. SCH junior goalie Shannon McNally logged seven saves during the game.

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