Archbishop Carroll senior Laura Wineburg Hoists Championship Plaque in Celebration After Winning PCL Title. (Photo by Mark Zimmaro for PSD)
By Mark Zimmaro (Photos and videos by Mark Zimmaro)
ASTON, PA - The chatter on the Archbishop Carroll sideline was that we’ll be hearing about Morgan Wood for the next few years. But it’s going to be tough to follow up her championship performance.
The Patriots’ freshman forward recorded a hat trick on the biggest stage on Sunday as Archbishop Carroll defeated Cardinal O’Hara, 5-1, to win the Philadelphia Catholic League championship at Neumann University. It was Carroll’s third straight PCL crown.
“I felt a lot of energy today,” Wood said. “I was so built up with energy and so excited. It was just a great experience.”
It’s one the Patriots had been thinking about since they lost to O’Hara on Oct. 6 at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken.
The Lions outplayed them that day in a 3-2 win. There was a long discussion afterwards in the Carroll post game huddle.
Archbishop Carroll Morgan Wood in the PCL championship game on Sunday. Photo by Mark Zimmaro
“That game right there was the game changer for us,” said Carroll coach Deanna Golden. “The breakdown that happened there after that loss was a catalyst to push us harder. We’re on a six or seven game win streak now and we’ve beaten some pretty good teams, not just in the PCL. I think there is strength in failure and that is where growth occurs. I had confidence coming in today knowing that we had a chance.”
After O’Hara had a few chances early on a string of unsuccessful penalty corners, Carroll started flipping the momentum as speedy forwards Wood and senior Laura Wineburg started getting behind the Lions’ defense. And 1:35 into the second quarter, their hard work paid off as Wood converted a Patriots’ penalty corner to open the scoring. Just 40 seconds later, Wood made it 2-0 on a fast break.
“I felt like I just had to keep going,” Wood said. “I just wanted to keep pushing so we would win. I know that one is not enough.”
Carroll kept the pressure up and about three minutes later, Wood nearly had her third but was stopped on a breakaway by Lions keeper Laura Angelopulas. But with 4:06 remaining before halftime, the Patriots broke through and stretched the lead to three.
Sam Hewitt inserted a ball that Sienna Golden pounded towards the cage that set off a celebration. The goal was credited to Golden, the school’s all-time leading scorer, over the PA system, but Golden quickly corrected the announcement to her bench.
“That one wasn’t me,” said Golden. “Kate O’Neill tipped the ball in. I turned to the sideline and said ‘that’s Kate’s goal.’ She was saying ‘Sienna, you can have it.’ But why would I take that away from her? She had a big goal in a big game.”
Speaking of big goals, Wood wasn’t done with her big day. The Patriots’ freshman deposited her third goal of the game just 37 seconds into the third quarter to give Carroll the commanding lead.
And just over a minute later, it was 5-0, thanks to a goal by Laura Wineburg. O’Hara’s Sam Connolly got one back for the Lions midway through the third quarter but the damage had already been done. O’Hara continued to apply pressure but the early hole was too great to overcome.
“I am so proud of this team,” Connolly said. “From last year, we lost eight of our starters and only three came back. I’m so proud of my team because some of the JV players came up and played their hardest. We all worked so hard just to be in this place. So I’m really happy that we got here. It’s not the outcome we wanted but I really love our team and I love our bond. I’m so happy for everybody.”
O’Hara went undefeated (8-0) through the regular season for the second straight year. The Lions last won the PCL in 2019 but have reached the final the last five times, which have all been Carroll-O’Hara matchups. The rivalry hasn’t lost any steam.
“It’s the best feeling in the world beating our rivals,” Sienna Golden said. “I can’t even explain it.”
Since there was no PCL championship in 2020 due to the pandemic, Carroll’s senior class went 3-for-3 in league titles. The significance of that accomplishment was not lost on the players.
“Oh my gosh, this is a three-peat,” said senior defender Beth Wineburg. “It’s my senior year and we just beat O’Hara for the third time in a row (in the championship). We were the underdogs again, like this is the same story as last year. And we came out just the way we wanted it.”
The Patriots will go for four straight next year. They are hoping players like Wood somehow have another trick up their sleeve.
“Morgan showed up to play today,” Deanna Golden said. “She’s a competitor and you’re going to be seeing a lot of her on the field hockey and the lacrosse field, let me tell ya.”
Senior co-captain Beth Wineburg’s left eye was bandaged up pretty good for the championship game, but it wasn’t caused by the heated O’Hara-Carroll rivalry. This came from friendly fire a few days prior.
“I got hit in the face at practice on Thursday,” Wineburg said with a laugh. “My teammate Claire Sexton got me on her backswing and it cut me across the eyebrow.”
No stitches were needed but a few bandage strips were applied across the eyebrow.
The bigger concern was if there was any type of injury that could cause her to miss the big game.
“That was my biggest concern, that maybe when I got hit, I might have a concussion and not be cleared to play,” Wineburg said. “But here I am. Sunday morning. All good.”
One of the other captains, Sienna Golden, an Ohio State commit, appeared completely stoic and in the zone during the entire 60 minutes, not showing any of the butterflies she admitted to having afterwards.
“I was definitely nervous coming in here,” Golden said. “But once I step on that field, everything goes away and my mindset is just to win. Don’t think about anything else, just get the ball in the cage and get your teammates to get the ball in the cage. The emotions right now — I don’t even know what I’m feeling. It just feels great. It feels amazing.”
Over the past six seasons, Cardinal O’Hara and Archbishop Carroll have flexed their muscle as the top two teams in the PCL.
Omitting the games they have played against each other, the Patriots and Lions are a combined 89-0 against the rest of the PCL since the start of the 2018 season. The last team to beat either squad was Bonner & Prendie, who defeated Carroll in the 2017 PCL championship on Nov. 2, 2017.