Members of the Perkiomen School field hockey team celebrate after winning the Tri-County League championship last Friday.
You may have heard the expression that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same could apparently be said about many an athletic program.
Three years ago, when Melissa Gaiser became the head coach of the girls varsity field hockey team, she watched as her team limped through a 3-8 season.
Year two wasn’t much better as her squad finished just under the .500 mark at 4-5 but the foundation for success was being laid one game at a time.
Last Friday when the Lady Panthers posted a 3-0 win over Kimberton Waldorf School to claim the Tri-County League championship, it came as no surprise to anyone who had spent the last three years under Gaiser working for the chance to be the best.
“It was our goal to play in this game from day one," said Gaiser. "I credit the girls for all their hard work. They practiced hard and played hard every time out. We had a great group of girls and I had a wonderful assistant in Paulette (Cutruzzula). It was a joy to watch them play."
Perkiomen broke a scoreless tie eight minutes into the game when Jackie Sell beat the Waldorf goalie, giving Perkiomen a 1-0 lead. Sell had a little help from her friends on the play as Maggie Dougherty and Maddy Ferdock were each credited with an assist on the play.
Though the two teams had played a fairly even first half, the second half would belong to Perkiomen.
Freshman Hannah Tompkins, who had spent most of the first half pressuring the Waldorf defense, picked up right where she had left off, advancing the ball deep into the visitors' end time and time again. When teammates Maddy Ferdock, Jackie Sell, Gretchen Ray, Yaminah Carter, Maggie Dougherty and Lauren Schultz joined in, the barrage of shots that rained down on Waldorf goalie Charlotte Haas was relentless.
Finally, at the midway point of the second half Ferdock posted the insurance goal the Lady Panthers had been working so hard to get, giving Perkiomen a 2-0 lead.
If Kimberton Waldorf had any thoughts of getting back in the contest, Perkiomen goalie Alexa Turner was doing her part to dash their hopes, turning away each attempt that came her way.
Perkiomen iced the game away when Sell scored her second goal of the game with just over four minutes left in the contest.
Perkiomen will graduate five seniors from this year’s squad including Sell, Schultz, Turner, Carter and Lynn Jang.
Although the graduates will be deeply missed, the good news for Gaiser and the Lady Panthers is that Rome didn’t fall in a day either. The nucleus of returning players should keep Perkiomen in contention when the 2012 season rolls around.
Perkiomen finished the season with a record of 7-2 and will look to continue their winning ways when the Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament kicks off this week. The team traveled to face Episcopal Academy in their opener Wednesday at Episcopal. The results of that contest were unknown as of press time.