By: James Williamson
DREXEL HILL, PA--A good rivalry can be a lot like a defibrillator. It sends a jolt of electricity through everyone’s system and makes things much livelier. Friday night served as a perfect example of the electricity a rivalry can provide, as Archbishop Carroll defeated rival Archbishop Prendergast by an impressive 5-0 score.
The Patriots’ have been through a tough stretch in their schedule, playing six games in eight days, but the promise of a rivalry game under the lights of Bonner & Prendie helped provide a spark that energized Carroll’s entire team.
“We've been harping the last couple of weeks like, keep the energy up. You know, we had six games in eight days, so we were playing a lot,” said Carroll head coach, Christina Elisio. “They definitely had the energy tonight and the fire. So, they did a really good job of just playing off one another and the sportsmanship that they had with one another was really nice.”
“It was just awesome,” said Carroll senior Grace O’Neill. “I thought we had so much energy and it’s just so fun to come out and play a rival and just play so well.”
The lights were bright and the fans were loud at Monsignor Bonner as both schools were well represented by their respective student section and alumni. If the magnitude of this rivalry was unclear to anyone in attendance, the sheer volume of fans and constant chirping between student sections made it obvious that this rivalry was something both schools take very seriously.
“This is my seventh year (coaching Carroll). Every year it's a pretty big rivalry. I mean, when we play hockey, it does seem to draw quite a crowd,” said Elisio. “And, you know, I'm excited. I think everybody was on their best behavior tonight, but I think it did get us all ready to go and riled up. It's fun to have a rival and a competition.”
This matchup with Prendie was Carroll's second game in the span of three days. They faced-off against Cardinal O’Hara at the Proving Grounds on Wednesday afternoon in what was another heated contest between rivals. The Patriots managed to walk away victorious, but had they not, things could have been much different going into their contest against Bonner-Prendie.
“Wednesday we played at the proving grounds against O’Hara, and they were excited and ready to go. We won 2-1 and they came off of that with momentum,” said Elisio. “So, I think that helped coming into tonight with that momentum. I don't know what would have happened if we hadn't won, what type of momentum we would have had, but it definitely helped things.”
Between the victory over O’Hara, the Friday night lights, a ravenous student section screaming their support, and a major rival ready and waiting, Carroll had a perfect storm of excitement and energy heading into their matchup and, unfortunately for Prendie, they unleashed all of it on the Pandas. By the end of the first quarter, it was clear this was Carroll’s game to lose.
While the Patriots held only a two-goal lead at the end of the first quarter, the score did not properly illustrate Carroll’s dominance. Outside of about two short possessions for Prendie, Carroll managed to maintain possession throughout almost the entirety of the first quarter. They were smart with the ball, moved it well, and didn’t take any careless shots.
Because Carroll was able to spend so much time on Prendie’s side of the field, it led to corner after corner, which provided the Patriots with plenty of opportunities to score. To show how much Carroll dominated the ball, Prendie didn’t get their first corner until the 2:50 mark in the third quarter, by which point the Patriots already had more than eleven corners.
“I think (the offense) kept really strong,” said Carroll sophomore goalie, Reilly McMenamin. “They take the ball off the left side, which really helps our team out a lot. And I think that Sienna Golden played amazing. She had a beautiful shot on the left. But I think that it was just a strong game.”
The remainder of the game would follow a similar script as the first quarter. Carroll would get the ball and never let it up thanks to their on-point passing and non-stop defense. It got to the point where it almost looked like Carroll’s goalie was starting to get a bit lonely watching the rest of her team live on the other end of the field.
“Yeah, it definitely got lonely, but it's OK,” said McMenamin. “I'd rather the ball be up there than back here.”
Carroll would go into the half up three nothing, then tack on another two goals to give them a 5-0 lead. By that point, the fourth quarter was more of a formality as the Patriot’s had all but secured the win and Prendie’s student section had already headed for the door. It may not have been the type of rivalry game some fans expected, but Carroll seemed more than okay with it as the girls celebrated their win on the field with the student section after the final buzzer had sounded; something they never would been able to do a year ago during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It's just so awesome to be back out with the team and having everyone together,” said O’Neill. “Last year we weren't able to have the JV, so it's just great to have everyone together.”
“It feels amazing being able not to wear masks and just like really having enough players on the field to be able to keep that motivation high and really work well with everyone,” said McMenamin. “I think it was pretty awesome to have our season back.”
Following this big win, Carroll will get a bit of a slow week as they only have one game on their schedule, a Wednesday showdown with Conwell Egan. Then after that, they are right back in the thick of things with a busy schedule. For now, the Patriots will get a little bit of rest, but their eyes are still set on the prize.
“Next is just continuing to win in the PCL and then going to playoffs and having that number one spot,” said O’Neill.
Despite losing standouts Reagan Dolan (Scranton) and Abbie Hoyle (Scranton) to graduation last year, Bonner-Prendie head coach Joanne Dolan is up for the challenge of a new season.
“Since day one of preseason we have been working hard as individuals to become a team. Our potential is great, and we look forward to good completion in the PCL & in non-league play,” said coach Dolan.
Dolan will depend on her strong defense with returning senior players Maeve Sullivan, Bridie McCann, Kellie Martin and coming back from an injury Ainsley George.
“We are rebuilding our midfield and forward line and senior players Annie Donohue, Delainey Ford and Kerry Mulholland have really stepped up to the challenge. Our forwards are coming together & playing better each game,” said coach Dolan.
Adding to Bonner-Prendie’s forward line are seniors Meg Kilroy, Gracie Miller and Michaelann Howard. The Friars will be missing senior player Emma Beaty due to an injury last spring.
“I enjoy coaching Bonner & Prendie year after year as my players play with grit and determination in practice and in games,” said coach Dolan.
Laura Wineburg: 1 Goal, Cate McConaghy: 1 Goal, Megan Sheridan: 1 Assist, Sienna Golden: 2 Goals, Shannon Wood: 1 Assist, Lydia Maione: 1 Goal
Reilly McMenamin: 3 Saves
Leah Ewing: 3 Saves