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GIRLS’ SOCCER: Springside Chestnut Hill Makes History Secures First Ever PAISAA Title in Victory Over Top Seeded Episcopal Academy

By Angelise Stuhl, 11/18/17, 9:15PM EST


Madison Niebish’s opening heroics provided an early goal to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 edge over the Churchwomen in the 2017 PAISAA girls’ soccer championship.


If someone happened to miss the opening three minutes of the PAISAA girls’ soccer championship Thursday night at Immaculata University between Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Episcopal Academy, they missed the sole goal of the contest.

Normally it takes players a few moments to adjust, especially during a championship game. Luckily for Springside Chestnut Hill, sophomore Maddie Niebish was quick to spring into action. 

“I remember Emily McNesby crossing the ball in, having [Episcopal’s] goalie make a save, but their goalie deflected the ball and I just kept running to the net. It was more Emily’s work, and I just finished off on it,” said a humble Niebish.   

This year the Blue Devils have been “On A Mission” to make it to the PAISAA Championship. Needless to say, that journey is now complete.

“‘On A Mission,’ it’s one of the things that we have been saying this year. We knew that we had to work very hard to get to where we are right now. So, that was our goal to take it one game at a time,” said Springside Chestnut Hill senior co-captain and Darthmouth commit, Grace Rorke.  

This 1-0 victory marked the Blue Devil’s first ever PAISAA state title. For Springside Chestnut Hill senior captain, Emily McNesby, this win was a long time coming.

“It’s unreal,” said McNesby, who will be continuing her soccer career at the University of Maryland. “We have been working so hard all of our four years of high school to get to this (the PAISAA championship). This was the goal and we achieved it and it feels amazing.”

During the second half of the game, midfielders from both squads saw majority of the action. Each team was also awarded a number of corners in which neither the Churchwomen nor the Blue Devils could capitalize.

Springside Chesnut Hill goalies Julia Wilbekaitis and Sena Houessou-Adin split time in net for the Blue Devils. Wilbekaitis and Houessou-Adin shed light on their game preparation and what went through their minds during this defense dominated game.

“At practice we watched film, which really helped us a lot as goal keepers because we saw what mistakes we made and what we needed to do better,” said Springside Chesnut Hill freshman, Wilbekaitis. “When it’s a 1-0 game and Sena comes out and I go in, I always try to keep my mind positive. That way I know I can do a good job and play my best.”

Maddie Niebish talks about scoring the lone goal of the game & winning the PAISAA title:

2017 PAISAA Girls' Soccer Highlight Video: SCH vs. EA

Post Game Interviews with EA senior captain goalies Hannah Moriarty & Morgan Messner & head coach Andy Fraggos

Post Game Interviews With SCH’s Emily McNesby, Grace Rorke, Julia Wilbekaitis and Sena Houessou-Adin

“It’s our third time playing them [EA] and we already kind of knew what to expect. So, we just wanted to have a plan that we could breakdown their offensive players that have been scoring during the past two times that we played them,” said Springside Chestnut Hill junior, Houessou-Adin. “Usually when we score first I’m less stressed out. It’s not that I will just give up, but it relieves stress from me in goal.”

During the regular season, Springside Chestnut Hill lost twice to Episcopal Academy. While this was not the post-season outcome Episcopal had hoped for, the Churchwomen ended the 2017 season as outright Inter-Ac girls’ soccer champions. 

With a team motto of "one team, one goal" Episcopal Academy secured the Inter-Ac title with a 11-2 league record.

"It was a great season," said EA head coach Andy Fraggos. " I am so proud of this team. Our seniors this year, we have seven seniors, have been role models for our underclassmen not only on the field or at practice, but in the classroom as well. They are all very well rounded and are a great example to our underclassmen. I am very proud of them."

"Next year we have a lot of returning talent. Our hopes are pretty high for next year and we are hoping for good things," said Fraggos.


As one season ends, preparation for the next season already begins. Seniors from both schools offered their  wisdom to their returning underclassmen in order to continue their legacies of success next season. (See videos below for their responses).

Episcopal Academy Senior Wisdom:

Springside Chestnut Hill Senior Wisdom:

2017 All-Inter-Ac Girls Soccer League Team Honorees


First Team        

Olivia Dirks -- Episcopal Academy        

Hannah Moriarty -- Episcopal Academy  

Anna Salvucci -- Episcopal Academy        

Raina Kuzemka -- Episcopal Academy        

Carly Macintosh -- Baldwin

Gia Vicari -- Baldwin

Emily McNesby -- SCH (MVP)

Grace Rorke -- SCH     

Giovanna DeMarco -- Penn Charter

Kaitlyn Haughey -- Penn Charter     

Ally Clark -- Germantown Academy        

Second Team

Laila Payton -- Episcopal Academy

Natalie Agro -- Baldwin

Celia Page -- Baldwin

Maddie Niebish -- SCH

Lucy Lamb -- SCH

Emma Maley -- Penn Charter

India Barnes -- Penn Charter

Riley Axenroth -- Germantown Academy

Maria Pansini -- Agnes Irwin

Emma Kichula -- Notre Dame

Honorable Recognition             

Mackenzie Pluck -- Germantown Academy