Trojans Edge Golden Hawks in OT

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LOWER GWYNEDD – Alyssa Tourdot could easily get lost in a crowd.
Exactly how tall is Wissahickon’s diminutive forward?
“Short,” she says without hesitation.
Persist, and she’ll tell you 5-1, but size goes out the window when the senior captain takes the field. Tourdot is a battler, and it was her persistence in the circle that paid huge dividends in the end.
With 9:19 remaining in overtime in Wednesday’s District One Class AAA Tournament second round game, Tourdot banged home a goal that propelled the top-seeded Trojans to an electrifying 2-1 win over Council Rock South.
“After the initial shot was off, I saw it was under the goalie’s pads, and immediately I was like, ‘Ball, ball, ball,’” Tourdot said. “I knew I had to get it, so I just went close post because I saw (the goalie) was down. It was kind of in slow motion.”
The Trojans’ celebration was not in slow motion as the players dashed onto the field and converged in the goal cage for a jubilant celebration.
“It was awesome,” senior captain Aubrey Bossert said. “We wanted it so bad.
“When we looked at the bracket, we saw we were going to be up against good competition. We didn’t really know what to expect from them.  We knew they were a good team from a good conference.”
“We weren’t ready to be done,” Ashley Bossert added.
And neither was a Golden Hawk squad that looked anything but the part of the tournament’s 17th seed as they extended the undefeated Trojans to the limit.
“I am so proud of them,” Rock South coach Lisa Defeo said. “I think they played their hearts out.
“I said to them, ‘There’s only one team that’s happy at the end.’ I know that it hurts right now, but I’m extremely proud of them.”
Tourdot’s game winner came during a wild sequence in front of the cage that saw the Trojans pelt Rock South goalie Ashley Hart with a barrage of shots. Moments after Hart – who has a school record 11 shutouts this season - turned away back-to-back shots during a dazzling sequence, the Trojans were back at it again.
This time Hart turned away the first two shots, but she wasn’t as fortunate on the third as Tourdot – with the Golden Hawks’ goalie on the ground – found the cage.
“She (Tourdot) wasn’t going to let that one go by,” Trojan coach Lucy Gil said. “I don’t know how it went in. The goalie was down on the ground, and all of a sudden it was behind her.”
Even in defeat, the story of the game might well have been Rock South’s defense which limited an explosive Trojan offense to one goal in regulation and just three corners in the entire game.
“They didn’t make a lot of mistakes, and we weren’t able to get corners,” Gil said. “We’re known for our corners, and that was one thing that was clear – they were going to be pretty frugal with those.”
The Trojans boast both speed and skill – traits that are underscored on their fast home turf, but the Golden Hawks played them toe-to-toe.
“Their stickwork is phenomenal,” Defeo said of the Trojans. “They’re very quick, they do one touches. I told (my players) at halftime they needed to be all over the ball because if we let them tear down the field, we have no shot.
“I wanted them all over the ball everywhere they went.”
The Golden Hawks were happy to oblige, allowing the Trojans to take just three second-half shots.
“Defensively, we had to mark tighter than we’ve ever marked, especially since it’s turf, and they’re a turf team and we’re not,” Rock South senior captain Lea Britton said. “We just stepped it up a notch in the second half.
“Me being a senior, there was only 30 minutes left. I love playing with these girls – I love every moment of it, and I didn’t want it to end. I think everyone knew it. They didn’t want it to end for that reason.”
The first half of Wednesday’s showdown belonged to the Trojans, who got on the scoreboard at the 16:39 mark when Gretchen Guaglionone scored on the rebound of a goalie save.
It looked as though that goal might be enough to win it since the Hawks never so much as managed a shot in the opening half.
But things changed in the second half. The Golden Hawks not only turned up their defensive pressure a notch, they also began generating some offensive pressure and converted their first legitimate opportunity of the game into a goal when sophomore Chrissy Vollrath scored from the left post.
“Someone crossed it – I think it was Sam (Facciolla), and it came off to the right side, and I hit it,” Vollrath said. “It went into the top left corner of the goal. It just felt amazing.”
Vollrath was moved up to the varsity midway through the season.
“She gets in a handful of minutes every game,” Defeo said. “She’s very good. She has a lot of potential.”
Vollrath’s goal changed the dynamics of the game. Suddenly, the Golden Hawks believed they could win, and the Trojans knew it.
“I know we were all really nervous,” Tourdot said. “I think we all realized in the second half we either win or go home.
“I really like intense games. It keeps my adrenaline up. It’s doesn’t allow me to let my guard down.”
The Golden Hawks drew three corners with under 10 minutes remaining in regulation but couldn’t mount any serious offensive pressure, and the stage was set for overtime and Tourdot’s heroics.
“I want to give them a lot of credit,” Defeo said. “They’re a very good team, and they deserve to be out here.
“Wissahickon played very well. We played our hearts out, and that’s all that matters.”
For a Trojan squad that was rarely tested in conference play, Wednesday’s tightly-contested game may have been just what the doctor ordered.
“I think it’s good this happened to us,” Ashley Bossert said. “It kind of wakes us up.
“In the beginning of the second half, we were kind of at slow speed, but we pulled it out at the end. For the next time, we know we have to give 100 percent because before we didn’t always have to.”
“It’s hard when you’re playing against not such good teams,” Aubrey Bossert added. “Our Pennsbury game really helped us for this game.
“It was one of our hardest games of our season, and it prepared us for this.”
The Golden Hawks closed out a successful season under their first-year coach with a 12-6 record.
“It’s really hard to see it end,” Britton said. “We’re all really good friends. The team is really united. It’s sad.”
The Trojans have a date with eighth-seeded Radnor – which defeated Council Rock North 3-0 – in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Council Rock South          0              1              0-1
Wissahickon       1              0              1-2
Goals/Assists: CR South – Chrissy Vollrath 1-0. Wissahickon – Gretchen Guaglionone 1-0, Alyssa Tourdot 1-0.
Shots: CRS-2, W-17.
Corners: CRS-3, W-3
Saves-Ashley Hart (CRS) 10, Jess Scannapieco (W) 1.