We have a newcomer to the party this week. Everyone be nice and make them feel at home. Other than that, there’s a new No. 1, which is always fun. I swear there’s even some logic behind it. Let’s get this started. Here’s last week’s Super 7.
1. Notre Dame (7-0-0, 3-0-0) Last week: No. 2
I maintain that the difference between the Irish and the next team on this list is negligible, but after re-analyzing both teams’ strength of schedule in the early going, I felt the need to give Notre Dame the nod. Beating Villa Maria, Archbishop Carroll, Haverford, Germantown Academy and Agnes Irwin is pretty impressive, especially considering only one of those wins came by less than three goals. Reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Moira Putsch buried her 100th career goal in a 4-1 win over the Owls, (video, video and more video) becoming the first player in Delco history to do so. ND also got a five-point week from freshman Quinn Maguire and Taylor Leonhardt is more than holding her own in an expanded role.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Leonhardt said. “But I think our team all works together to help each other. I like it. I like pushing up, then coming back and helping. Sometimes, I start out at midfield, then switch to forward.”
2. Episcopal Academy (8-0-0, 2-0-0) Last week: No. 1
EA allowed a goal in two games and dropped. Makes sense, right? Again, flip a coin and take a side in that EA-ND debate. I won’t argue too vociferously, but EA’s early schedule hasn’t been as tough as ND’s. That being said, the Churchwomen are pretty darn good. Lexie Curry had a goal and four assists this week, Maddie Bacskai had matching two-goal, one-assist efforts and Margaux Paolino has scored in seven straight games. All-Delco goalie Gianna Pileggi stoned nine of 10 shots she faced. On the bright side, there will be more clarity when the Irish and Churchwomen play next Thursday, a 3:30 date in Newtown Square.
3. Garnet Valley Last week: No. 3
The Jaguars posted a big win last Tuesday when they took out Haverford, 2-0, at the Reserve, and followed it up with a 3-0 whitewashing of Springfield, which could have been worse if not for the heroics of Cougars goalie Ally Scanlon. Blossoming star Jessika Daniels seems to be taking her game to the next level. She controlled the center of the field against the Fords and also chipped in the game-winning goal. Shivani Chinnappan added the other, which is part of her torrid scoring streak of late. Check out this week’s notebook for more on that. Hailey Valerio seems to have healed up nicely from her concussion as she posted a pair of shutouts this week. One player who stood out in front of Valerio against the Fords? Her sister, Taylor.
“I think I’m growing into the game more,” the midfielder said. “I started playing my freshman year, so it’s definitely taken a little bit to get into it, but I’m loving it. I love playing on the same team (as Hailey and the third triplet, Madison). I definitely feel like we have a connection. Left side tends to be a little more defensive in general and I have gotten used to playing that position. It’s a lot more aggressive than finesse.”
Katie Keyser also made waves by committing to Stanford.
4. Cardinal O’Hara (7-2-0, 5-0-0) Last week: No. 4
All-Delcos Marissa Cicione and Grace Boston did much of the damage in routs of Lansdale Catholic and Sacred Heart, but it was Jess Randazzo who tallied off of a Sarah Quintus assist in a 2-1 overtime loss to Downingtown West. The Whippets, though, are one of the best teams in the area and arguably one of the best in the state, so there’s no shame in dropping a close one. Boston has raced out to the county lead in points – she has a point in every game but that Downingtown West one – and Liz Piszker leads Delco with seven shutouts. There’s a tough stretch ahead for the Lions as they take on Bonner-Prendergast Wednesday, Archbishop Wood Friday and Episcopal Academy Monday before another brutal stretch to end the year. Those games will be rather telling.
5. Agnes Irwin (7-1-0, 0-1-0) Last week: No. 5
So you gave up Putsch’s 100th career goal. Don’t feel bad about it, Owls. She scores against pretty much everybody. I was pretty impressed with AIS, though, and that was after they beat Archbishop Carroll. Lucy Maguire, Sophia Tornetta and Jax van der Veen scored in that one. Rosie Kalis was nothing short of phenomenal against Notre Dame, making 16 saves to keep the game close. Freshman Julianna Tornetta has been a revelation at center-mid and she ranks in the top 10 in scoring for the county.
“It’s been really great,” Tornetta said of her rookie season. “At first, being on the team with my sister was really intimidating, but then when I started getting a feel for the team, it was really fun, just being able to be the center-mid and controlling the field. It’s a great opportunity, especially for a freshman.”
Read more about the Tornetta-Tornetta dynamic in this week’s notebook. The transfer winds seem to have blown favorably into AIS’ direction as Hill School and W.C. Eagles standout Laura Donald (a Dartmouth verbal) is apparently joining the Owls. That should be a big boost.
6. Haverford (7-3-1, 4-1-1) Last week: No. 7
The loss to Garnet Valley was tough, but the Fords bounced back in style by shellacking Upper Darby and, more surprisingly, Radnor. The Raiders were really starting to round into form and hit a major roadblock when Rachel Bova and Tess Horan netted a pair of goals apiece and Katie Wyman robbed 12 shots. Wyman also collected another shutout thanks to four saves against the Royals and breaking away from a two-goalie platoon (along with Caroline Russo) seems to be doing her some good.
“It was frustrating at first,” Wyman said. “But (Russo) worked hard, I worked hard. She earned my spot, I earned my spot, and I got it back. You just always continue to work hard and you’ll prosper from working hard. … I don’t get ahead of myself and be, like, ‘oh, I’m going to start,’ so I always make sure my confidence is up and then when I start, that’s when I not cocky, but confident.”
One player whose role has expanded, especially with the loss of a talented midfield, is junior Steph Manning. Manning saw some time last year, but she’s taken big strides forward with her game. Against the Jaguars, she was a stalwart on the defensive side of things and led the Haverford transition. It’s a big step forward, but Manning is holding up well
“It’s been great,” Manning said. “The girls are really playing well together. We’re trying hard, but it’s not always translating well.”
The rest of my interview with Manning centered around Haverford struggling to score goals, which seems ironic right about now and probably not apropos considering the Fords have nine goals in their last two games.
7. Marple Newtown (4-6-0, 2-4-0) Last week: Not ranked.
This wasn’t an easy choice with plenty of potential candidates for the spot. But take a look at the “also considered” teams. Archbishop Carroll lost to Strath Haven. Bonner-Prendergast has ugly losses to the Patriots and Ridley, while the Green Raiders took it on the chin from the Panthers. Radnor got smacked by Haverford and Delco Christian is probably next in line. So that leaves us with the Tigers, who are more than worthy of this spot as they downed Strath Haven, 2-1, thanks to goals from Lauren Ferguson and Sam Walsh. Then they toppled Springfield and hung tight with Conestoga. Read more about the Tigers’ recent surge in this week’s notebook, where goalie Megan Peterson is highlighted for her robust 88.2 percent save percentage. Marple Newtown has never made it in the Super 7 in my tenure at the Daily Times and former beat writer/Delco encyclopedia Harry Chaykun couldn’t remember the last time it happened, either, so congrats to the Tigers!
Dropped out: Archbishop Carroll. Also considered in alphabetical order: Archbishop Carroll, Bonner-Prendergast, Delco Christian, Radnor, Ridley, Strath Haven.