Hatboro-Horsham’s Colby Eldridge looks to control the ball against O’Hara’s Lauren DelRomano. (Scott Roman)
Hatboro-Horsham's Colby Eldridge looks to control the ball against O'Hara's Lauren DelRomano. (Scott Roman)

Hatboro-Horsham didn't care that Cardinal O'Hara had recently been crowned as District 12 champion. The Lady Hatters also didn't care that the Lions had scored 115 goals in only 21 games this season.

And in their first state playoff appearance in seven years, the Lady Hatters were not going to be denied this early.

"We're definitely in it to win it. We have a lot of talent on this team and these girls are really peaking at the right time,' Hatboro-Horsham coach Laura Swezey said.

Playing in their first state playoff game since 2006, the Lady Hatters did everything correctly. From getting a couple of lucky bounces, a great defensive effort and a perfect performance from its goalkeeper, Hatboro-Horsham was in control from the very beginning.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Jane Henry gets set to fire a shot against O’Hara’s Marissa Cicione Tuesday night. (Scott Roman)
Hatboro-Horsham's Jane Henry gets set to fire a shot against O'Hara's Marissa Cicione Tuesday night. (Scott Roman)

The end result was a 2-0 win over O'Hara in a PIAA Class AAA first round playoff at Germantown High's Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, sending the Lady Hatters to the next round for a meeting with District One champion West Chester Henderson.

"We want this more than anything,' said Hatboro-Horsham junior goalkeeper Emily Braunewell, who stopped eight shots in net to earn the shutout and the victory. "We were so excited on the bus to come out here and take the win and we're really excited to move forward.'

Braunewell was outstanding on Tuesday, stopping four shots in each half while keeping O'Hara — a team which had averaged nearly 5½ goals per game this season — completely off the scoreboard.

"Emily just had an awesome game,' Swezey said. "Our defense was great and it was just save after save and just some really nice dead stops. Our defense was super solid.'

While the defense did its job, Hatboro-Horsham (15-7-1), the No. 4 seed out of District One, got a couple of lucky breaks early on in the contest on offense.

At the 23:34 mark of the first half, sophomore Kelsy Hopkins sent a hard shot in from near the top of the circle and watched as it bounced in past several defenders, putting the Lady Hatters up 1-0. Junior Casey Swezey assisted on the goal.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Casey Swezey fires a shot against O’Hara’s Gabby Rowe Tuesday night. (Scott Roman)
Hatboro-Horsham's Casey Swezey fires a shot against O'Hara's Gabby Rowe Tuesday night. (Scott Roman)

Just over 11 minutes later, Hatboro-Horsham again caught a nice break, as a shot from senior Carlie Baldus bounced off the O'Hara goalkeeper and into the back of the cage to put the Lady Hatters up 2-0. Swezey drew her second assist of the game on the goal.

"(Getting the lead) took so much pressure off,' Braunewell said. "Once we get the lead, it's easy for us to just relax and just focus on keeping them out of the net and keeping possession of the ball rather than thinking that we have to score. We just came in making sure we had everybody marked and we were focusing a lot on defense, while also making sure we got offensive chances as well.'

Hatboro-Horsham’s Jenna Cutilli fights for the ball while O’Hara’s Gabby Rowe defends. (Scott Roman)
Hatboro-Horsham's Jenna Cutilli fights for the ball while O'Hara's Gabby Rowe defends. (Scott Roman)

In the end, the Lady Hatters finished with seven corners to six for O'Hara (16-6). The Lions had only been shut out one previous time this season before Tuesday's defeat.

"Casey Swezey was great today bringing the ball down and opening up the field nicely and I thought our speed was great,' Coach Swezey said. "We have a lot of speed and it was just a team effort. They supported each other and it was wonderful to get that first win in states. O'Hara is a nice team and we watched them play and they did unbelievable, so we had a great team effort today.'

Hatboro-Horsham will now prepare for Saturday's contest with WC Henderson, which will be played at a time and location that is yet to be determined.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Casey Swezey drives the ball toward the goal, while O’hara’s Makayla Gallen defends. (Scott Roman)
Hatboro-Horsham's Casey Swezey drives the ball toward the goal, while O'hara's Makayla Gallen defends. (Scott Roman)

"We're just really excited,' Braunewell said. "It's a little exciting and a little nerve-wrecking, but we're just excited and I think we're ready. We're not going to take them lightly.'