Gwynedd Mercy Academy entered Tuesday afternoon's Athletic Association of Catholic Academies game against St. Basil Academy being able two claim two things: One, it has a high powered offense and two it has an undefeated record (5-0).
Both of those claims remained true as the Monarchs put on an offensive clinic as they emerged with an 8-1 win.
Gwynedd opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game with Corinne Persichetti getting the game's first tally. Just 17 seconds later Cassie O'Brien got the Monarchs on the board again.
"They put two goals in but they weren't goals I would expect from them,' Gwynedd coach Sue Persichetti said.
While Gwynedd had the ball on offense for most of the contest St. Basil benefited from a little home field advantage getting some transition opportunities with some balls bouncing over Gwynedd sticks.
"With the bounciness of our field, we know how to play it,' St. Basil coach Erin McDonald said.
"That was our problem today. We're not at all used to this field,' Persichetti said.
Even with bouncing balls frustrating the Monarchs, it was only enough to marginally slow them as the offensive talents of Nicole Catalino, Olivia Celoni, O'Brien and Persichetti. Catalino chipped in four assists on the game while Celoni netted the final three goals of the game.
"Olivia's got a magnet in that stick,' Persichetti said. "When her stick is down, that ball's in the cage on a tip. Cassie's footwork is amazing and she can move a goalie like nobody else.'
On the offensive opportunities that were available for the Panthers, they were generally led by Maura Brownsey and Emily Harton as they tried to push the ball up field and set up chances when they could.
"Maura Brownsey's definitely my key offensive contributor [and] Emily Harton has been stepping up the past couple games,' McDonald said.
Defensively Katie Dugan put her best efforts up against the potent Gwynedd attack.
"Katie Dugan is our strongest defender, she has been for the last couple years,' McDonald said. "She is a good communicator, she knows how to handle the ball. Her hits are some of the hardest hits in the league.'
The performance of St. Basil goalie Stephanie Liebel cannot be overlooked as she made 31 saves, many of them difficult, in the game.
"She showed up today,' McDonald said. "She was phenomenal. She was moving to the ball, she came out when she needed to come out. She saw them winding up to take the shot, she got in position and she took it like a champ.'
Fortunately for the Panthers this will not be the only meeting of the two teams this season. St. Basil will take on the Monarchs again in mid- October at Gwynedd's home field, a place where Panthers have had more recent success.
"In the last couple years when we've played Gwynedd, we've played them better on their field,' McDonald said.