Archbishop Wood came into the PIAA Class AA tournament hoping to capture the glory of a state title that eluded it last year. Unfortunately, their run at the crown came to an abrupt end Tuesday night against a very talented Villa Joseph Marie team.
The Vikings fell to Villa Jo 2-1 on a night where the offense just would not click like they wanted it to. After squandering scoring opportunities in the first half, Wood paid the price as the District One champions put two goals on the board in 10 minutes in the second. Despite pulling one back, the Vikings ran out of time and were left wondering what went wrong.
"We had opportunities in the first half and we didn't finish,' Wood coach Bill Cappo said. "I think we held the ball well, we just didn't put it in the net. That's how you win games, you put that ball in between the two sticks into the back of the net and we didn't do it.'
Wood had a hard time in the final third throughout the game. Although their combination of speed and physicality got the ball down the field, it was inside the 18-yard box where they struggled. The Vikings would muscle their way down field, only to have a pass go array or a shot to way over the goal, all the while not cashing in on opportunities. However, Wood played good defense and kept Villa Jo off the scoreboard.
The Vikings would rue not scoring a goal in the first half, as an organized Villa Jo team came out strong in the second. The Jems were already organized, but as time went on they started to boss the midfield and it appeared that a goal was imminent.
Villa Jo opened the scoring in the 55th minute when Taylor Stevens scored a free kick. Stevens smashed a dipping ball into the six-yard box and it bounced in the net, giving the Jems a 1-0 lead and all the momentum.
Ten minutes later, Allie Trzaska hit the dagger when she maneuvered through the defense and finished to put her team up 2-0.
"Both teams played well, but they converted on their opportunities and we didn't,' Cappo said. "I think we had the most of the play early on, but they controlled it better in the second half and they scored because of that.'
After the first goal, Cappo put defender Katherine Hennessey up top to try to generate some offense. The Wood senior played an attacking role last season, so it was nothing new to her. Although the Jems scored the second goal soon after the switch, Hennessey scored in the 73rd minute on a breakaway to cut the deficit in half. However, it was not enough, and the Vikings were sent packing.
"We have to work hard in the off-season to get where we want to be,' Cappo said. "When we get chances, we have to finish. I think it would have been a different game if we scored in the first half, but best of luck to them in the playoffs. I think they can go all the way.'