CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – As the saying from William Shakespeare’s play Othello goes, I will wear my heart upon my sleeve… especially when you get the chance to you play in the PAISAA championship game.
That saying literally sang true for the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur's field hockey team.
During Wednesday afternoon’s battle for the 2017 PAISAA state field hockey title, Notre Dame Academy’s squad bared the word “Heart” neatly inscribed on their wrists.
“Heart means to not only just play with heart, but to remember that every girl on the team who has “heart” written on (their wrist) is your family. They are more than just your teammates. It’s essential in everything we do. We play with heart, we think with heart and we act with heart,” said Academy of Notre Dame senior goalie and recent Wittenberg University commit, Katie Liebeskind.
Playing with an extra dose of heart proved to be the key to success, as Notre Dame cruised to its second consecutive PAISAA state championship title in a 10-2 victory over Germantown Academy.
“The sky was the limit for this team, and I really believed that at the start of the season,” said Notre Dame head coach Adele Williams, who also led her team this year to their 11th Inter-Ac title. “This was the third time that we were facing GA. My main point to the girls was that just because we won the first two meetings during the regular season, that they should not take this game for granted. It’s championship day, anything goes, so we stuck to our game plan.”
Notre Dame sophomore Mia Leonhardt tallied 6 of the Irish’s 10 goals. She scored her initial goal in the first half and added 5 additional goals in the second. Teammate Lauren Curran ignited Notre Dame’s offense, scoring the first goal of the game. Curran scored two more times in the first half to give the Irish a 4-0 lead heading into halftime. In the second half of the contest, Sarah Jane Quigley also added a goal for the Irish.
While Notre Dame had the word “heart” visibly written, it was clear through their tenacity and valiant effort that the Lady Patriots also left their hearts on the field. Germantown Academy freshman, Sophia Towne and senior captain Madeline Cooper added the Patriot’s two goals during the 17th and 6th minute in the second half.
Unfortunately, that would be GA's only two scores on the board.
"We never really played our game today, so that was tough," said GA head coach Jackie Connard.
"But overall it was a great season and I am so proud of these girls."
To make it to the PAISAA championship game, the Lady Patriots came away with a thrilling 2-1 victory against Episcopal Academy, a feat that had not been accomplished for Germantown Academy’s field hockey program since 2007.
Going forward, GA junior standout Sammy Popper is excited for next season.
" We have a lot of girls stepping up. We have a huge sophomore class and two freshmen on the team now that play a huge part of our team. Winning the EA game shows what kind of field hockey we want to play and can play. They realize that and everyone on the team knows it and that is how we are going to look to start out next year and just keep going from there," said Popper.
As one season ends, preparation for the next season already begins. Seniors from both schools offered their upperclassmen wisdom to their returning players in order to continue their legacies of success next season. (See videos below for their “heartfelt” responses)
2017 PAISAA Game Stats:
1-0 ND Lauren Curran
2-0 ND Lauren Curran Assist: Mia Leonhardt
3-0 ND Mia Leonhardt Assist: Tina D’Anjolell
4-0 ND Lauren Curran
HALFTIME ND 4 – GA 0
5-0 ND Mia Leonhardt
6-0 ND Mia Leonhardt Assist: Lauren Curran
7-0 ND Mia Leonhardt Assist: Lauren Curran
7-1 GA Sophia Towne
8-1 ND Sarah Jane Quigley
8-2 GA Maddie Cooper
9-2 ND Mia Leonhardt Assist: Lauren Curran
10-2 ND Mia Leonhardt Assist: Sarah Jane Quigley
ND GK: Katie Liebeskind - 2 saves
GA GK: Hannah Santos - 14 saves