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Oct. 18, 2014 — No. 1 Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 8, No. 2 Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) 0

VOORHEES, N.J. — The stars were out at McAleer Stadium on Saturday evening; brilliant players on two of the finest high-school field hockey teams in the United States. But one star outshone them all in a contest featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Top 10.

You might think that star was U-19 national teamer Austyn Cuneo, who had three goals in Eastern’s 8-0 defeat of Episcopal Academy. Or perhaps the plucky Mackenzie Keegan, late of the U-17 national team, who had a brace for the winners.

But it was Madison Morano, the junior central midfielder for Eastern, who helped to organize and implement the Eastern defensive strategy from the first minute of the game to the last. Morano also had a tremendous solo goal halfway through the second term. On the play, she knifed through a pair of defenders at the 23-meter stripe, beat a third by making a sharp cut to the middle of the striking circle, and, cool as you like, flipped in shot off the backboard to the approval of a crowd of more than a thousand that packed the stands.

Morano, who committed to Penn State just this week, helped Cassie Kincaid keep a clean sheet against a team which had come in scoring 96 goals. On the day, however, Episcopal Academy didn’t get anything into the goal cage.

“We knew they were very skilled and very fast, and we just wanted to keep them in front of us,” Morano said. “We did that very well today. They were the best team we’ve faced this season; they have awesome individuals.”

The Eastern midfield and backs withstood the Episcopal Academy possession game, which relied on the use of individual and multi-pass elimination skills. At times, the Churchwomen were able to spring players with good sequences, but would misfire on their goal shot or on the final pass. One such sequence in the second minute involved a sublime bit of magic on the part of junior winger Margaux Paolino, who rounded the baseline on the right wing and was a tackle away from going in alone on Kincaid. Had the chance gone for a goal, the tone of the game could have been altered.

“Completely different,” said Eastern head coach Danyle Heilig. “I go back to the time we lost to Emmaus 4-1 in 2005; we had two open chances in front of the cage. We put those two in, it’s a different game.”

Instead, the Vikings set to work at the other end of the pitch. Cuneo rang the post on a 1-Up corner in the fourth minute, then opened her account six minutes later with a long-range blast that sent the assembled McAleer Stadium crowd into an eruption of cheers and applause. It was the 58th straight game in which Cuneo had a goal, and she would get two more to bring her total amassed goals to 290, far and away the most in American scholastic field hockey history.

Episcopal, in response, threw in an offensive surge that led to a four-corner flurry midway through the first half, but Kincaid and the Eastern defense were equal. Less than three minutes after that surge, the Vikings got a goal from junior Nikki Santore, who worked incredibly well with Cuneo all game long.

The hosts salted the match away with three goals in about 3 1/2 minutes to close out the first term. The sequence showcased Eastern’s excellence of execution on penalty corners, its skills, and its relentlessness. Episcopal, playing a rare match outside the state of Pennsylvania, didn’t have the answers on the day.

“We have a good team, and we can do better, and we will,” said EA head coach Gina Buggy, the 1984 Olympian. “It was a longshot to come over here, but that’s the kind of team we have. They were excited about this opportunity and considerable challenge.”

The eight-goal difference is somewhat deceptive; the Churchwomen did not play bad hockey, and were able to create chances and corners. The problem was that they were unfortunate to be playing an Eastern team in the midseason form that every other team in New Jersey fears. That form, sometimes referred to as “The Eastern Express,” is typified by speed, possession, and scoring goals in bunches. It’s been a hallmark of Danyle Heilig-coached teams for the last decade and a half.

“When we get on a roll, it’s very hard to get out of it,” Morano said. “Once we start scoring, and playing with intensity, we pick each other up, and the game gets a lot more fun. We just keep going and going; it’s an Eastern thing.”

“Playing teams like this make us stronger,” Buggy said. “Now, we know the kind of speed with which we need to play. We look forward to growing from it.”

And what should be a superb reverse match at Sonje Volla Field in 2015.

Episcopal Academy (17-1) 0-0 — 0
Eastern (15-0) 5-3 — 8
E: Austyn Cuneo (Nikki Santore), pc, 10th
E: Santore (Cuneo), pc, 19th
E: Mackenzie Keegan (Alanna Golotto), pc, 27th
E: Cuneo, ps, 29th
E: Jessica Maute, pc, 30th
E: Madison Morano, fg, 44th
E: Cuneo (Santore), fg, 51st
E: Keegan, pc, 60th
Shots- EA: 21; E: 5. Saves- EA: Rachael Farmer 12, defensive 1; E: Cassie Kincaid 5.

FULL TIME That’s all for tonight; good night and good hockey

60:00 EAS PC and GOAL A scramble leads to a Keegan goal from in front! The final score is 8-0

59:00 Last minute of play and the McAleer faithful are sensing victory

54:40 EAS PC A four-way passing play is set up for Keegan, but it is shoveled wide

52:15 EA GREEN Palazzse is off for two minutes

50:31 EAS GOAL Santore finds a wide-open Cuneo at the left post; hat trick for the UNC-committed senior and the lead is 7-0 for Eastern

48:38 Timeout, Eastern

48:03 EA YELLOW Paolino is off for five minutes

45:00 EA PC Ends with a bad insert

43:03 EAS GOAL Morano, cool as you like, dribbles through three defenders and buries the ball in the net; it’s 6-0 in an unlikely scoreline in such a big game

40:12 Timeout, Eastern

40:00 EAS PC Defensed by Rushton

36:41 EA YELLOW Colby Gallagher is off for five minutes for an elbow

34:30 EAS PC Hi-lo deflection to Santore goes through the goalmouth and over the end line!

31:00 EA PC Zanolli’s shot saved by Kincaid!

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME It’s not as those EA is playing bad hockey; it’s just that Eastern has matched and exceeded Episcopal Academy’s speed and execution of skills at that speed

HALFTIME At the horn, Eastern leads Episcopal 5-0

29:45 I don’t believe what I’m witnessing here

29:44 EAS PC and GOAL Jessica Maute with the tip-in past Farmer and Eastern leads 5-0

28:15 EAS STROKE and GOAL Cuneo with the confident stroke and it’s 4-0 Eastern

28.00 EAS PC A frenzied pileup sees a shot off the body of an EA player on the goal line and a stroke is called!

26:14 EAS PC and GOAL Gollotto with an angle shot saved by Farmer, and Mackenzie Keegan with the putback. It’s 3-0 Eastern

24:30 EAS PC Cuneo bounces one to Santore who can’t get a stick on it

22:30 EA PC Defensed by Cuneo!

22:00 EA PC Cuneo fouls Ali Rushton at the top of the circle; will reset

18:26 Timeout, Episcopal Academy

18:26 EAS PC Santore picks up a Cuneo rebound and the lead is doubled! 2-0 Eastern!

16:00 EA PC Maddie Bacskai is defensed, the ball goes off an Eastern stick over the end line

15:30 EA PC Palazzse hits Morano in the foot; will reset

15:00 EA PC Palazzse to an option left to Bacskai and the ball hits Kristina Castagnola in the body; corner called

14:30 EA PC Palazzse shot blocked by Morano!

12:30 EAS PC Cuneo’s shot blocked over the top by Paolino on the fly!

12:00 EAS PC Alexis Pettisani with a shot saved by Farmer

10:00 EAS PC Ends on a raised ball

9:27 EAS PC and GOAL Cuneo blasts it in and the crowd erupts! Eastern leads 1-0

8:00 EAS PC Alanna Gollotto is saved by Farmer; Casey Quicksill shoots the rebound wide!

5:00 Keegan hits a shot that is deflected over the end line! Long hit for Eastern

4:20 EAS PC Farmer with the save for the Churchwomen!

3:50 EAS PC Cuneo hits the pipe!

2:00 Episcopal with the early pressure

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Episcopal Academy is in the navy with white trim, Eastern is in the white with navy kilts and trim, and red numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the turf under partly cloudy skies and temperatures around 63 degrees. There were dark clouds around dusk, but there’s no rain anywhere on the radar

PREGAME For a preview of the game, please click here:

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to McAleer Stadium on the campus of Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) for this interstate match between Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) and the host Vikings


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