|Photo by Bill Rudick/ Henderson goalie Rosalie Nolan makes one of her 14 saves during Tuesday's 4-2 win over Downingtown East. The Warriors improved to 2-0 in league play with the victory.|
By BILL RUDICK
DOWNINGTOWN — Paced by a pair of goals from Emily Torrance, West Chester Henderson’s field hockey team got back on the winning track with a convincing 4-2 victory over Dowingtown East at Kottmeyer Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
A year ago, the Warriors hadn’t suffered a defeat until the district playoffs came around. This season, it came a bit earlier, as Henderson dropped a tough one to Garnet Valley. But the loss served as motivation, and it was a more energized team that took the field against East.
“Last year, we really didn’t know what it was like to lose,” said junior defender Carly Askinas. “But losing early this year let us know that the wins aren’t always going to come easy. We have to work hard for them, and have the drive to win.”
The Warriors led from start to finish, riding crisp passing and a stout defense to the win.
“We communicated today, always talking with each other,” said Warriors coach Jen O’Donnell. “I don’t know if it was the heat or what, but we were almost silent on Friday.”
Henderson struck first about ten minutes in. Awarded a penalty corner, Henderson sent the ball in to Katie O’Donnell at the top of the circle. O’Donnell fired off a shot, but it was turned away by Cougars goalie Hannah Overholzzer, one of 27 saves on the day for the netminder.
But waiting on the post was Ali Pugliese, who slammed it into the back of the cage for the first goal of the game. Less than five minutes later, Henderson made it 2-0 when Torrance grabbed a ball in a crowd and slipped one in for the first of her two goals.
“We played well in transition,” said Torrance. “We were making great passes and getting out on breaks to get to our offensive side of the field.”
East cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal from Claire Webb on an assist from Izzy Giordano just before the half.
Coming out of the break, it didn’t take long for Henderson to go back up by two. ’Donnell sent a pass into the circle, where Torrance took it at about ten yards out and delivered a goal. O’Donnell scored a goal of her own with just under 18 minutes to play, hitting an absolute rocket of a shot to her left and into the upper half of the far side of the cage.
“She really hit that hard,” said Torrance. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for a goalie to see that coming at you.”
East did find the back of the cage one more time, scoring on a Nicole Baxley goal with 1:20 to play. Lauren Measel was credited with an assist on the play.
“We didn’t give up, and kept the pressure on right to the final whistle,” said East coach Steph Bullock. “That goalie (Henderson’s Rosalie Nolan) played a great game. We had our opportunities, but just weren’t good enough on second and third shots to put it in the cage.”
Nolan finished the day with 14 saves, while the defensive unit of Askinas, Meagan Rosko and Lexa Ricigliano did a nice job lessening the load for Nolan.
“We shifted really well,” said Askinas. “We saw the holes, and filled them. e marked up, and made sure no one got behinds us. I just think we’re really comfortable with each other as a unit, and it’s allowing us to play with more confidence.”
Up next for Henderson is a showdown with Unionville on Thursday afternoon, a match-up of last season’s two Ches-Mont division winners.
“The Ches-Mont is a very competitive league,” said O’Donnell. “There are no easy games in this league, so it’s always good to get a Ches-Mont win.”
W.C. Henderson 4, Downingtown East 2
Henderson 2 2 -- 4
D-East 1 1 -- 2
W.C. Henderson goals: Torrance 2, Pugliese, O’Donnell.
Downingtown East goals: Webb, Baxley.
Goalie saves: Nolan (WCH) 14; Overholzzer (DE) 27.
D-East Webb, Baxley