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FSL Field Hockey: Academy of The New Church Earns Another Title Shot; Defeats George School 1-0 in Semifinal.

By Mark Zimmaro (Photos by Mark Zimmaro) (Video/ Lennie Malmgren), 10/25/23, 8:30PM EDT


Shipley Defeats Westtown Will Face Academy of The New Church In Championship

By Mark Zimmaro (Photos by Mark Zimmaro)

BRYN ATHYN - Yvonne Prue somehow manages to walk the tightrope of being a spark plug and calming factor.

On one hand, the Academy of the New Church junior is a seemingly endless source of energy, playing an emotional brand of field hockey while racing up and down the field as the team’s central defender. At the same time, she can rescue her team from a pressure cooker when the Lions need to take a deep breath.

Captain material? You betcha.

Academy of the New Church junior Yvonne Prue takes a free hit during the Lions' 1-0 victory over George School in the FSL semifinal. Photo by Mark Zimmaro

Both of Prue’s valuable traits were on display as the Lions defeated George School, 1-0, on Tuesday in the semifinal round of the Friends School League playoffs.

“Yvonne is a firecracker,” Lions coach Sarah Waelchli said. She is very fiery but she’s also very kind. She’s the type of person that’s going to have touch points with all the players on the team.”

Academy of the New Church and George School scoreless through three quarters after the host Lions threw all kinds of pressure towards the Cougars’ cage but had nothing to show for it. 

After the teams broke the huddle prior to the start of the fourth quarter, Prue spent a few seconds individually with most of her teammates. 

She gave her goaltender Zarah Synnestvedt a hug. She swooped in to fire up fellow captain Ayla Mergen and raced up to the center dot to talk strategy with playmaker Ellery Johns. Then she retreated back to her position and continued to not let anything by her.

“I really just like to bring up my teammates,” Prue said. “I know that games can be tiring and it’s hot and I’m just trying to bring them up or also to talk strategy but usually it’s just a nice compliment or something like that. I really like lifting up my team and I think it really brings us together.”

Prue kept the Lions in check and with 4:13 left in the game, Molly McCabe finally solved the George School puzzle. The Lions were awarded a free hit in the Cougars’ zone and Prue sent a ball into the circle, which popped loose to Mary Vandergrift, who swiped at it along with Johns. The ball ricocheted to Mergen, whose shot was muffled in front but took a fortunate bounce towards McCabe who fired it from a tight angle and into the cage. 

“I was just trying to take every shot I could,” McCabe said. “Honestly, I didn’t think it was going in at first until I saw it go through (the goalie’s) legs. Just every shot I could take, I was taking it and I got really lucky on that one.”

One was all they needed. 

“I had no doubt,” McCabe said about her team holding the lead. “We’re a great team and I knew we could do it from the beginning so I was just ready to get the game over with.” 

ANC Junior Yvonne Prue

ANC Sophomore Molly McCabe

Prue and the Lions’ defense made sure there were no nervous moments over the last four minutes and ANC punched its ticket into the Friends School League championship for the third straight year. The Lions lost to Shipley during their last two appearances and they’re hoping the third time's the charm as they will visit the Gators on Friday at 3 p.m.

“I’m beyond excited,” Prue said. “I’m really ready to get a championship win.”

George School’s run in the FSL came to an end but it wasn’t without a fantastic effort on the road against a team that beat them 5-0 in the regular season. The Cougars were up to the task, but just couldn’t find a goal.

“They came to play today,” George School coach Kim Stone said. “They played with their hearts and played with everything they had. They have nothing to hang their heads about today. They played so well and I’m super proud of them.”

Goerge School went 5-2 during the regular season and earned the No. 3 seed. They had won five straight league games heading into the playoffs. 

“We got a little bit better each game and kept the momentum going and kept the spirit going,” Stone said. “And they gave it everything they had each game and gave it all here today.”

For ANC, the road continues to Shipley, which defeated Westtown, 7-1, on Tuesday in the other semifinal.

The Gators raced out to a 4-1 lead by halftime and remained unbeaten against Friends League opponents during the 2023 season.

The top-seeded Gators defeated the Lions 4-2 in the regular season finale. The Lions are hoping to deny the Gators their third straight title while extracting some revenge as last year the roles were reversed. 

ANC is the last Friends League team to beat Shipley after taking a 2-1 regular season decision on Oct. 19, 2022.

Shipley vs. Westtown in Semifinal Match. (video/ Lennie Malmgren for PSD)

“Last year, we were first and Shipley came here and beat us,” Waelchli said. “Maybe it’s a karma thing and we’ll go out there and do the same. I think that we’re hungry to have another chance.”

They’ll lean even more on Prue to keep the balance of emotions in check.

“She is a great player,” McCabe said. “She’s always lifting the team up and always has a positive attitude and her communication is amazing on and off the field. She’s a great player and her drives are amazing. You can see how hard she works out on the field.”

ANC junior Yvonne Prue taps her goalie Zarah Synnestvedt on the back as they prepare for the fourth quarter against George School. Photo by Mark Zimmaro

Quaker Cup Update

Moorestown Friends and Germantown Friends will meet in the Quaker Cup final after both teams recorded shutouts in the semifinal round.

Azaria Coleman-Stokes scored twice while Abby Fog and Isabella Didie each added a goal as the top-seeded Foxes defeated Friends Select, 4-0. 

Across the river, Germantown Friends secured a 4-0 win over Friends Central and will travel to Moorestown for the Quaker Cup final on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Moorestown Friends defeated Germantown Friends, 1-0, in the regular season match.