By Larry Moko
The Bishop Ryan Celtics are champions of high school field hockey for 2019 and it’s largely due to a player who wasn’t available for the final.
Moments after the Celtics defeated the St. Mary Crusaders 1-0 to capture the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league title Wednesday, the Bishop Ryan coaching staff made sure to recognize the season-long contributions of Jordana Ferro.
Her No. 13 jersey was brought out on to the field and included in some of the celebratory team photos after the trophy presentation.
“Jordana didn’t play for us because she’s having knee surgery on her ACL and MCL today,” Celtics coach Sara Pavao said. “She started for us all season and played in every game. We recognize we wouldn’t be here without her contributions.
“It was a very big loss for us not having Jordana. We actually had to make quite a few adjustments defensively without her in the lineup.”
Pavao said Ferro – who also plays soccer — told her last June at the BR athletic assembly that instead of having knee surgery at that time she would wait until October so she could play most of the field hockey season with a brace.
“She chose to have it done in October so she could be part of this team.”
The victory for first-place Bishop Ryan capped an undefeated season (8-0). Third-place St. Mary, which upset the second-place St. Thomas More Knights 2-1 in a semifinal, finished with a 5-4 overall record.
Bishop Ryan’s lone goal was scored with six minutes remaining in the first half by Angelina Maiolo.
“It was on a short corner,” said Maiolo, a high-scoring Grade 11 student who pointed out that teammates Madison Mair and Aurielle Tobias were also key parts of the goal.
“We had a few opportunities before that (against goalkeeper Abby Ogg) that didn’t go in. But that one did.”
Said Pavao: “Angelina is a dangerous player in front of the net. When that ball is in the circle she never gives up on it.”
St. Mary came alive in the second half and threatened to score on numerous occasions. The best of those chances against goalkeeper Lauren Bain came on shots by Peyton Blaney and Sarah van den Heuvel.
“We just needed a couple of more minutes,” St. Mary coach Melissa Kiely said. “I think my girls get better as the game progresses. They usually can out-run a lot of people. Their athleticism was really shining in the second half as the other team was getting tired.
“The pressure was on their goalie. She made some impressive saves.”
Samantha Preston was also a member of the last Bishop Ryan team to win a HWCAA field hockey championship. That was in 2016.
“Samantha never really played that year,” Pavao said. “Now, she’s my team captain. I rely on her a lot.”
Maiolo said the Celtics put much time and effort into their preparation this season. “We really wanted it,” she said. “We worked together well. There was a lot of passion behind it.”
In the semifinal round, Bishop Ryan topped the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 3-1.
“We watched St. Mary play its semifinal against St. Thomas More,” the Celtics coach said, “so we knew this wouldn’t be an easy game. They brought it today. There were a few anxious moments for us.”
With the win, the Celtics advance to the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference semifinals Tuesday against a yet to be determined opponent from the Halton Catholic league.
Other BR players in the lineup for the final were Jas’mine Bates, Chloe Crechiola, Georgia Giorno, Stephanie Kircos, Kiara Meletti, Emma Mihajlovic and Kaytlin Strich.
Source: Marnie Jadon