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FIELD HOCKEY: And The Championship Goes To..In Complete PCL Fashion the Top Two Teams Did Not Disappoint

By Mark Zimmaro, 10/28/22, 5:45PM EDT


Archbishop Carroll Holds Cardinal O'Hara With Single Goal for Championship Title




ASTON, PA--Courtland Schumacher supplied the shot heard round the PCL.

The Archbishop Carroll senior released a blast into the cage just 4:45 after the opening whistle for the game’s only goal and the Patriots hung on in a 1-0 victory over rival Cardinal O’Hara to successfully defend the Philadelphia Catholic League field hockey title at Neumann University.

Schumacher’s tally came on a set play on a penalty corner — just like they drew it up and just like they practiced so many times this year.

“That was just one of our basic corners, just one shot in,” said Schumacher with a huge smile. “I just needed to keep my head down and fire it in. I just wanted to strike early so we would have confidence going the rest of the game.”

Schumacher’s goal was impressive. But attempting to hold off an offensively explosive team like O’Hara for the next 55 minutes could be considered crazy talk. The Patriots managed to do it.

“It was very nerve-racking,” said Patriots junior defender Beth Wineburg.

“Most of the end of the game was played in our circle so that was nerve-racking for all of us.”

Wineburg might have felt the nerves, but she didn’t show it, playing a nearly perfect game in front of defender-turned-goalie Arianna Hall, who was also stellar. The duo got a lot of help in a team-wide effort to slow down the furiously fast Lions. The Patriots fought fire with fire.

2022 PCL Championship Highlights - Archbishop Carroll vs. Cardinal O'Hara - PSD Video by Mark Zimmaro

Carroll senior Courtland Schumacher talks about her goal to give her team the 2022 PCL title - PSD Video by Mark Zimmaro

“I wasn’t that nervous because we have a bunch of great defenders and we were playing more defensively but I think we just had so much energy and we all wanted it so bad,” said Carroll senior defender Megan Sheridan. “We were so hungry for that win. We just knew we had to keep the energy up and we’d be fine.”

There were chances at both ends throughout most of an evenly played game until the Lions’ final push in the closing minutes. Quite frankly, it was to be expected in a game between two opponents that are evenly matched. O’Hara took the regular season matchup nine days prior by a 1-0 score in overtime. Carroll simply returned the favor.

“We read off that and decided they weren’t going to score on a corner this time and that’s their main point of scoring. It was a back-and-forth game, but we kept our momentum up," said Sheridan. "I think we just really wanted it and we really wanted revenge.”

Carroll has now won three of the last four PCL titles that were awarded as there was no winner in 2020 due to the pandemic. O’Hara last won the PCL in 2019.

“It means everything,” Schumacher said. “Ever since my freshman year, after we lost to (O’Hara in the PCL championship), I wanted to win straight through. And that’s what we did. I’m so proud of my team.”

It was the first time since 2018 that the PCL title was not decided in overtime. The Patriots didn’t seem to mind, even if it meant protecting a lead for nearly an hour.

“We knew we had to keep playing,” said Schumacher, a first team All-Catholic selection. “We just kept up defensively and our defense did a great job and our goalie played amazing.”

Carroll senior Megan Sheridan has been a constant source of energy for her team this season & especially in the championship - PSD Video by Mark Zimmaro

Archbishop Carroll junior Beth Wineburg is so happy to be a PCL champ - PSD Video by Mark Zimmaro

Knowing the opposition inside and out also helped.

“We knew, even though we had lost to them the first game, we didn’t bring our A-game that day,” Wineburg said. “Tonight, we just knew we needed to play strong, and we did exactly that.”

Incredible talent from both sides played their final PCL game.

For Carroll, a six-pack of seniors that included Schumacher, Sheridan and Hall, along with Cate McConaghy, Kendall Carson and Bridget Grazel, made their final PCL appearance a memorable one.

“I think this win is a huge accomplishment for me and all my teammates,” Sheridan said. “I know we all wanted it. Courtland Schumacher, Cate McConaghy and (junior) Sienna Golden are all going (to college) for field hockey, so this win is especially important for them in their accomplishments as a field hockey player and for their growth and development.”