Owen J. Roberts’ Elizabeth Karcewski (8) celebrates after assisting Emma Christman (11) for the Wildcats’ opening goal in the team’s
Owen J. Roberts' Elizabeth Karcewski (8) celebrates after assisting Emma Christman (11) for the Wildcats' opening goal in the team's previous meeting against Upper Perkiomen. The Wildcats won the game 3-0. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

The Scorekeepers were perplexed.

It was a glaring difference from what had become so accustomed. For the first time in the season senior forward Casey Umstead's name didn't appear on the scorecard.

No, that card became filled with Wildcats as Emma Christman netted a first-half hat trick, while goalkeeper Ally Mooney stood on her head, collecting save after save — including a sprawling save on an Umstead penalty stroke to preserve a 3-0 Owen J. Roberts victory over the Tribe.

Now, Upper Perkiomen head coach Jamie Warren believes that the loss has transformed the team, and has made them significantly better heading into the PAC-10 final, Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Indian Stadium.

"We've improved since we've played Owen J. (Roberts),' Warren said. "We're going to play our game and go hard — a championship style hopefully.'

Warren's assertion holds water as the Tribe have gone 7-0 since the Sept. 23 showdown with OJR, outscoring their opponents 33-3 in that span. Their most recent win, a 4-2 victory over Methacton in the PAC-10 Final Four semifinal on Tuesday, saw Umstead score twice in the second half as the Tribe utilized three unanswered goals to propel themselves past a Methacton squad who hadn't reached the Final Four since 2010. Umstead has been held off the score sheet just once during the seven-game span — a 2-0 victory over Pope John Paul II. Throughout the season she has collected a league-high 39 goals, 41 if you count the two goals in the semifinal.


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"Casey's always been a natural scorer,' Warren said. "She's matured in her overall growth and knowledge of the game. She's taken on a leadership role.'

Umstead's goal prior to the season was simple: score 100 goals. Now, with her 100th goal notched in a 5-4 loss to Gwynedd Mercy in mid-September, Umstead's focus has shifted to making a mark in the PAC-10 playoffs and capture the Tribe's first league title since it captured two consecutive in 2005 and 2006.

"There's a lot of fire inside of Casey, you just have to know when she's going to ignite it,' Warren said. "She wants to go deep into postseason play and be effective. She's stepping up her game for that.'

Owen J. Roberts presents a tall task for Upper Perkiomen to overcome. Led by head coach Clarence Jennelle, the Wildcats have reached the PAC-10 title game three out of the last four years — capturing the championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Not seeing any playoff action last season, OJR, led by the goalie tandem of Mooney and Lizzy Tamburro, Christman and a plethora of facilitators such as Madelyn Mullen and Ashley Kucera, have taken the conference by storm.

Looking like the teams of 2009-2011 that featured now-collegiate players Taylor Shronk (Temple), Heather Morris (Duke) and Amanda Fuertsch (Temple), the new-look Wildcats have outscored their league opponents 42-4 in their 11-1-1 conference record. On Tuesday, OJR throttled the Phantoms in the first half en route to a 4-0 victory to set up a rematch of the Sept. 23 date, and the 2010 Final Four semifinal.

The team boasts two players that are in the Top 10 in goals scored in the league (Christman, 15 and Karcewski, 9).

Their goalkeeping, which has given Warren reason to worry heading into the title game, has accounted for eight shutouts in their 11-league wins, posting an astonishing .30 goals against average as they captured the Liberty Division.

In the 3-0 victory against Upper Perkiomen in September, the Wildcats controlled the ball for well over 80 percent of the second half and frustrated Umstead and others throughout. An Umstead shot that rattled off the right post was the only significant chance that the team had.

Heading into Thursday night's showing, will Umstead finally get her PAC-10 conference title, or will Owen J. Roberts capture their fourth league title in five years?

Only time will tell.

Follow Sam Stewart on Twitter @Samuel_Stewart7