LOWER POTTSGROVE — Anytime the Pottsgrove and Pottstown field hockey teams battle, it's easy to mistake one team for the other —the similarities are stark. Separated by a five-minute drive along North Washington Street, the Pottsgrove and Pottstown field hockey team's mirror each other in nearly every aspect.
Both teams are mired in an area where field hockey takes a back seat, generating as much interest among the student body as an all-night study session at the local library.
Both are trotting out 20-player rosters game after game, season after season, making it extremely difficult to compete with the PAC-10's best.
However, similarities fade when talking about the teams' leadership.
As Falcons sophomore Alyssa O'Neil and Trojans senior Tyisha Reddick took the field in Pottsgrove's 2-0 victory over neighboring Pottstown Wednesday afternoon, both symbolized that leadership can come through many forms, whether action or through spoken word, both O'Neil and Reddick have their own way in gearing up their team.
O'Neil sparked the team with two assists, feeding Brooke Toennies 20 seconds into the second half and then again in the waning moments of the game, sending a cross to Imanye Delay to ice the game for the Falcons.
Reddick answered the call with a stellar game for the Trojans, collecting 17 saves and acting as the pillar for the defense to lean on.
"I'm very thankful that we have her,' Pottstown
For the soft-spoken Reddick, being the backstop was one way she knew she could help the team. Serving as a defensive back in her first two seasons with the program, Reddick saw an opportunity to serve her team in a better asset.
After senior goalie Anika Watkins-Frazier graduated following the 2011 season, Reddick was the first one to answer the call to be the team's next goalie.
"We needed somebody to step up,' Reddick said. "I did it once before in middle school so I thought I could take it on, and that's what I did.'
Her performance in Wednesday's game validated her statement.
Despite a slow-paced start to the first half, Reddick started to see her share of shots midway through the frame as the Pottsgrove offense looked to find their groove.
Reddick resisted the onslaught, turning away consecutive shots from Toennies on one possession before turning away another attempt by Kirsten Bond a few seconds later. O'Neil was the next victim as her shot was set aside by Reddick a few minutes later.
"Pottstown was playing on their strong side of the field and we weren't. It was back-and-forth in the first half,' Pottsgrove head coach Christine Campbell said.
For O'Neil, her revenge came in the second half.
Coming into the year after starting every game on varsity last season, the young sophomore was vocal and in-charge in the second half.
O'Neil, who possesses an amount of poise uncommon for her age, found her groove along with the rest of the Falcon's squad as they took control of the second half, scoring 20 seconds into the frame before tallying the dagger at the five second mark.
"We played well. In the first half we weren't communicating but in the second half we picked it up. I told the team (at the half) that we have to work on our passes and play wide,' Campbell said.
O'Neil's pass to Toennies was the highlight of the day, a solid cross to set up the easy goal. Her second assist showed the same vision as Delay was left alone in the box for the easy tap-in from four yards for the second score.
Pottsgrove held the advantage in corners at 8-5. Pottsgrove goalkeeper Cheyenne Ready made nine saves in the contest including a sliding stick save on an attempt from Cheyanne Marshall that kept the game scoreless in the first half.
For O'Neil and Reddick, the similarities return when the prospect of playing in college arises.
"I want to play in college so I'm just trying to get touches,' O'Neil said.
"Hopefully a coach will see me and I'll go somewhere else after here,' Reddick added.
Folow Sam Stewart on Twitter @Samuel_Stewart7