Episcopal Academy 2019 Inter-Ac Champions (photo courtesy Episcopal Academy Athletics)
PHILADELPHIA—Episcopal Academy Churchwomen (EA) team did what it did best this past Tuesday afternoon and that is play a stellar game of field hockey. In the regular season finale, the visiting Churchwomen shutout the Penn Charter Quakers 4-0 and garnered the 2019 Inter-Academic League championship along with the victory.
This win marks the Churchwomen's 13th Inter-Ac Title under the leadership of EA head coach Gina Buggy.
"We are thrilled to capture the 2019 Inter-Ac Field Hockey title," said varsity coach Gina Buggy. "Winning the Inter-Ac is always our primary goal. We were able to accomplish this lofty goal thanks to a lot of hard work and unselfish play and leadership from our seniors."
Ashley Sessa started off the game with an unassisted goal followed by a goal less than two minutes later from Melanie Lim with a Sessa assist. The first half scoring wasn’t complete until Kathleen Anderson assisted by Jacki Miller found the back of the net with 14 minutes remaining before the half.
The Churchwomen continued with ground skill strength working the ball both offensively and defensively. The Quakers tried to maintain a defensive unite against EA’s challenging O line but to no avail. Sophomore Mia Garber scored the winning goal assisted by Sessa once again to seal the win.
Goalkeeper Gianna Cilluffo tallied 9 saves on the day to complete the shutout.
EA maintained an 8-0-1 league record and 16-1-1 overall record throughout the season. The only challenge EA faced came earlier in the season, on October 4 in a nail-biting match against the fighting Irish of the Academy of Notre Dame. The game was a definite thriller which resulted in a 1-1 score in regulation and remained tied after a double overtime.
EA faced the Irish once again last Thursday, October 24 with an entirely different outcome and much needed win.
EA held a 2-0 advantage for much of the game before Notre Dame, (7-2-1) league, (15-5-1) overall, tied it up in the middle of the second stanza. EA sophomore forward Ashley Sessa capitalized off a turnover and managed to find the net with 2:42 on the clock securing the narrow 3-2 victory.
Midway through the opening half, EA senior forward Jackie Miller tallied a goal with senior forward Laura Null providing the assist. Five minutes later, teammate and sophomore forward Macy Szukics registered a goal assisted by Mia Garber to extend the lead.
Notre Dame continued to push back on offense in the second half getting their chance to tie the game off of two corners which happened two minutes apart. Senior midfielder Mia Leonhardt scored off of an assist by senior foreward Meghan Mitchell to end EA’s chance of a shutout.
Notre Dame senior midfielder Emily Graeff made the tying goal with 7:28 in regulation but it was EA’s Sessa’s shining moment that sealed the decision.
Sophomore goalkeeper Gianna Cilluffo stopped a total of 11 shots on goal against the aggressive Irish offense.
Leading the day for Notre Dame’s defense was junior goalkeeper Paige Kieft with six saves.
"The next two weeks should be an exciting culmination to a successful 2019 field hockey season," said Buggy. "This team continues to work hard in search of a win on EA/AIS Day and on trying to capture another PAISAA title."
The first round of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) championships starts tomorrow, Nov. 1.
Number 2 seed Episcopal Academy will host number 7 seed Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
Game time is 3:30 p.m.