VILLANOVA, PA--Sixty minutes of action was not long enough to settle it when the Academy of Notre Dame hosted Germantown Academy (GA) in Inter Ac League field hockey action Thursday, October 25, 2018. The game went in to overtime before Germantown Academy ultimately edged Notre Dame, 2-1.
Going in to this match, the league championship was undoubtedly on the line. Shortly into overtime, GA co-captain midfielder Sammy Popper (Princeton University commit) tallied the game-winning field goal on a penalty stroke.
“We just had confidence,” said Popper. “We believe in each other. Whenever we get down, we get on the same page to get back in it.”
With this outcome, GA improved its record to (7-1-1 league) (11-4-1) on the year.
“We peaked at the right time of the season,” said Germantown Academy head coach Jackie Connard.
”This was the first year since I’ve been coaching (my fourth season) that I think the team truly believed that they could beat Notre Dame. After a 3-4 loss earlier in the season they were really motivated going into this match-up. The girls worked hard throughout the game, and especially wanted to win for our seniors, Maddie O’Hara and Sammy Popper,” said Connard.
GA celebrates after OT game winning goal by Sammy Popper (video- Dan McCarty for PSD).
Notre Dame had previously dropped a decision to Episcopal Academy that snapped a 16-game winning streak and the team fell (6-2-0 league) (15-2-1 overall) with this result.
Popper registered the first goal of the day about 11 minutes into the second half and that played a huge role in helping set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Notre Dame tri-captain Lauren Curran (Boston College commit) found the net with 12:05 remaining in the second stanza tying it up. Junior Mia Leonhardt (North Carolina commit) provided the assist.
"It was nice to get the goal and get the team back in the game,” said Curran.
With the end of regulation, the game tied 1-1, it was now going into overtime. The Patriots regrouped quickly, and it was then that Popper had her shining moment, capturing the goal that won the game.
GA senior captain Sammy Popper talks about the victory and season (video-Dan McCarty for PSD).
GA junior Grace Pacitti talks about her role on defense in this memorable game (video- Dan McCarty).
“We had the ball, but Sammy came and wanted it,” said Curran. “She was able to capitalize on her opportunity and score a goal.”
Junior goalkeeper Olivia McMichael prevailed on defense with 19 saves for Germantown Academy.
“We stop every ball we can,” said McMichael. “I rely on my defense a lot hoping they can mark up as well. I know they always have my back.”
Leading the way for Notre Dame’s defense was sophomore goalkeeper Paige Kieft with two saves.
Connard lauded the performance of her team.
“Sammy has been an incredible leader for our team for the past few years, and winning the Inter-Ac was always one of her goals. The team really rallied around her and worked together for the win. I also have to mention the phenomenal defense that held ND scoreless for over 40 minutes of play, led by juniors Olivia McMichael in goal and Grace Pacitti and Annabel Brewer on the defensive line,” said Connard.
Germantown Academy will face Penn Charter during GA-PC Day on November 10. A victory against the Quakers on that day will garner the Patriots the Inter-Ac Title. But before that game, GA is gearing up for the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association Tournament (PAISAA) which starts this Friday.
“Knowing that we’re going into the PAISAA tournament as the #1 seed brings the sense that we have to prove that we deserve that top spot, to ourselves and our opponents,” said Connard.