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FIELD HOCKEY: Episcopal Academy and Academy of Notre Dame Split Season Series, Inter-Ac Title Still in Reach

By Dan McCarty. Photos: Lennie Malmgren, 11/03/22, 11:30AM EDT


Photos/Videos: Lennie Malmgren & Dan McCarty

By: Dan McCarty

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – With playoff berths on the line, the Academy of Notre Dame Fighting Irish field hockey team hosted the Episcopal Academy (EA) Churchwomen this past Tuesday. Belief and confidence in each other did it for EA as it emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins, 2-1.

“We had so much more confidence in every single person on the field because we all knew that we had our own role to complete,” said EA senior co-captain Alexis Ventresca. “We got so excited for our successes. When we had a setback, we got back together and regrouped.”

This marked the second time this season these two teams faced each other in Inter-Ac League action. Notre Dame previously upset EA and going into this particular contest, the Irish only needed to secure one victory to clinch the league title. Nevertheless, the Churchwomen came fighting back, captured the win and forced the fight for the title to continue.

“I like to think of it as a learning experience,” said Notre Dame senior Brennan Czajkowski. “You have to take what you can with that and move forward the best you can, see what you did wrong, see what you did right and move forward.”

Notre Dame vs. EPiscopal Academy - PSD Game Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

Most of the first half was scoreless. As it came to a close, however, EA started battling its way back into the game. Senior co-captain Charly Bruder registered a goal with 2:05 remaining in the opening stanza to make it a 1-0 score.

“It was a long hit,” said Bruder. “I just brought it in. I went in right. Their (ND's) left side, they left it open.”

The Churchwomen doubled their lead when Bruder extended her run to 2-0 with 8:48 left in the third quarter prompting the Irish to use a time out. It took a while but the team proved that it was not over when Czajkowski found the net with 4:19 on the clock to avoid being shut out.

“We really needed to get a goal,” said Czajkowski. “I was ready to go. I got in there. I just did what I could. I got lucky.”

EA senior Charly Bruder talks about the Churchwomen's game plan vs. ND - Video by Dan McCarty

ND senior Brennan Czajkowski reflects on her goal and moving forward - Video by Dan McCarty

Junior goalkeeper Isabel Andrews kept EA’s defense on its feet. Defenders also stepped up with great passing.

“We came in really positive overall,” said Andrews. “Our energy was really happy. We had a lot of belief in each other. I think that translated to our success.”

The Notre Dame defense picked up its pace as the match progressed. Junior goalkeeper Mia McCloskey led the way.

“When they started coming at us with their breakaways we would just have the other person step up and then the other person would drop back and redefend,” said McCloskey.

EA senior Alexis Ventresca talks team goals & upcoming game preparations - Video by Dan McCarty

EA goalkeeper Isabel Andrews said her team brought the energy & positivity - Video by Dan McCarty

ND goalkeeper Mia McCloskey was proud of her team's defensive performance - Video by Dan McCarty

At this point, Notre Dame and EA both have one remaining game in Inter-Ac play as they await their playoff seeds. Should both teams secure a victory, they will officially share the Inter-Ac title. League action resumes Thursday, November 3 with Academy of Notre Dame taking on host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy at 3:30 pm.

“We have one more Inter-Ac game,” said McCloskey. “It will be a close game because they’re a tough team. I think we’ll be able to pull through.”

Episcopal Academy takes on The Agnes Irwin School Tuesday, November 8.

“We’re really, really excited,” said Ventresca. “We just half to focus on that game. We have a long week of practice. There’s definitely a lot of things that we need to work on. We’re focusing on playing Agnes Irwin right now.”