Field Hockey Ties Owen J. Wildcats
The 2-2 tie Upper Perk field hockey played against Owen J. Roberts on Monday night was nothing like kissing your sister. The scintillating back-and-forth contest was a high-energy affair from beginning to overtime and, from the Tribe’s perspective, another highlight in a special season.
Despite the fact that Upper Perk (5-1-1) twice relinquished one goal leads, built on two goals by Casey Umstead, the team was more than happy to get a point from their long-time nemesis from Bucktown.
“For as long as I can remember, we’ve always been neck and neck with Owen J,” said Upper Perk senior Devon Kriebel after the game. “We’ve always had that tough 1-0, 2-1 loss. And the tie, especially the way we played, was great. We all came together. I’m pretty happy with it.”
The visiting Wildcats (5-2-1), on the other hand, left Indian Field after enduring a potentially season-changing event when superstar Heather Morris suffered a knee injury late in the second half. Morris, who scored her 100th career goal earlier this season, was just returning from the Junior Pan-Am Games.
Umstead got the Tribe on the board first with a penalty stroke with just under 14 minutes left in the first half. Carrie Nyce and Sami Stalford set up the goal with a couple of scoring chances in front of the net.
When Stalford’s shot hit a Wildcat player behind their goalkeeper, Lizzy Tamburro, Upper Perk was awarded the stroke and Umstead beat Tamburro to the stick side.
It only took the Wildcats about four minutes to knot the score, however. Morris threaded a deft pass to Molly Minahan who pivoted around a defender and beat keeper Katie Lederer along the turf.
The Tribe struck quickly a couple of minutes into the second half to regain the lead. After a second consecutive corner was awarded to Upper Perk, Kriebel inserted a pass to Umstead, who ripped a vicious shot past Ali Mooney, who started the second half in goal for the visitors.
Upper Perk dominated play for a good part of the half and had several good scoring opportunities, especially two by Maddie Fox that Mooney made spectacular saves on.
And then Morris took over. The senior mid-center displayed her stick handling skills and forced three successive corners for Owen J. On the third, Morris fed Emma Christman wide open to the left of the goal and her deflection found net for a 2-2 tie with 13:57 left.
With the clock ticking down in regulation, both teams were dealt potentially fatal blows. First, Umstead was issued a yellow card and sent off the field with 4:49 left, leaving the Tribe short-handed. But 26 seconds later, Morris went down untouched in the center of the field with her injury.
The game was delayed for ten minutes while she was tended to and helped off the field. When play resumed the Wildcats seized the momentum and Lederer had to make two clutch saves before time expired.
In the seven-on-seven overtime, both teams showed the effects of giving maximum effort, especially the Tribe. The defense rose to the occasion, though, and Kriebel, Fox and Sam Dingler all made clutch plays to thwart scoring plays.
“Going into the overtime we had the high energy, but we just had to fight off the tiredness and the weak legs and we just had to run it out,” Kriebel noted.
Upper Perk head coach Jamie Warren rued the victory getting away from her team but could not be too unhappy.
“I think we got rushed at times, and we needed to stay a little bit more calm and control the game a little bit better, but I applaud them for their effort. They were working really hard. There wasn’t a time where they were slacking.”
According to Kriebel, the Tribe, battling it out with Phoenixville for the top spot in the Liberty Division of the PAC-10, can build off the tie.
“That was probably the toughest game we’ve had to play, so far. Everyone just played well. Everyone just clicked together.”