SPRINGSIDE CHESTNUT HILL ACADEMY 2021 PAISAA CHAMPIONS
(Photos by Kathy Leister)
BY COLE NOWAK
CONSHOHOCKEN, PA - The Blue Devils of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy were on a mission, and that mission would not be complete until the state title was captured. The Blue Devils finished their regular season with a 12-0 league record and an overall record of 18-0-1. One last obstacle stood in their way, a tough Academy of Notre Dame team that they had previously met on two separate occasions this season. In both those contests, SCH came out on top 3-0.
This game would tell a different story…
In the Pennsylvania Independent School's Athletic Association Championship held on Nov. 17 at the Conshohocken Proving grounds, Notre Dame would not make it easy for the Blue Devils. But SCH had plans of their own and were determined to finish their season with a clean sweep of both the Inter-Ac league title and PAISAA state championship.
SCH had just beaten fourth seeded Episcopal Academy in a close 3-2 semifinal rout to get to this final match.
“It was a big thing for us today, we focused our entire day even at school about winning. We came out not as strong as we did against Episcopal, but we got the job done. All the emotions are high and excited, a couple of sad emotions because of the seniors who are leaving us. But we are all so excited and proud of this season, and what we were able to accomplish,” said Inter-Ac MVP Lisa McIntrye.
Inter-Ac MVP Lisa McIntrye, was named PSD's Player of the game after scoring the game-winning goal in the PAISAA championship for Springside Chestnut Hill - PSD photo by Cole Nowak
“It feels absolutely amazing, this is what we have worked for the past four years. To finally accomplish it as a senior, we are at our best place as friends, we are at our best place as players. It feels so good,” added first-team All-Inter-Ac forward Maya McDermott, who will be heading to Syracuse next fall to play soccer.
Unlike the first two contests, this game only needed one tally to determine the winner. But boy, was it a beauty.
In the 23rd minute of the first half, standout junior left back Julia Thomson fed a great pass over to McIntrye. McIntrye would push the ball to the outside, beating a ND defender, then fire a blistering shot upper 90 on the far side of the net leaving the ND's goalkeeper helpless.
“Thomson stole the ball, and I was able to get in front of her and she tapped it to me. I had one defender to go against, touched it to the right, and then just shot it in the upper left-hand corner,” said McIntrye.
This would be the end of the line for the scoring on the afternoon. The Blue Devils backline would hold down the fort, securing the shutout to lift SCH over ND 1-0 to be state champions.
SCH junior goalkeeper Ellie Stratz stood firm leading the defense while making some key saves including a stop from a ND free kick with less than 10 minutes to go in the last half of the contest.
Notre Dame’s backline did an excellent job limiting SCH's scoring chances. Any time one has to match-up against this loaded Blue Devils’ roster, they have to stay alert for the entirety of the 80-minute competition. Even though the Irish came up a bit short, they gave a heck of an effort.
“This has definitely been our closest team throughout my four years of high school. We blended so well together, they really helped us on the field. Everyone played so nicely, and everyone had so much fun. We started winning every game and it was so much fun. We could laugh in warm-ups and really just have a good time all the time,” said Academy of Notre Dame senior captain Caeli Maher.
“I am extremely proud of this team and this group of girls. To win the Inter-Ac is one thing, to go undefeated is another. To top that off with the state, which has been their goal since the beginning. Most of these players have never been there. Just to keep that consistency and focus all year, it is really hard to do. To play each team two times, some three, they come to play,” said SCH head coach Maria Kosmin.
At the end of the day, a team can possess all of the talent in the world. But to reach one’s peak, the team has to buy into the process of working as a cohesive unit to accomplish a common goal. This Blue Devils' family did just that. Their blend of culture and talent was a lethal combination that left their opponents no chance of deterring them off of their path.
SCH finished #1 regionally and #8 nationally. The Blue Devils completed their mission.
What a season to remember.