By Larry Moko
The Bishop Ryan Celtics rebounded from a season-opening loss to capture the 2022 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic girls’ high school field hockey championship.
When the regular schedule began on Sept. 16, the Celtics fell 2-0 to the visiting St. Thomas More Knights. After that contest, the two teams both went undefeated – through a combined 13 league and playoff starts – to set up Wednesday’s rematch in the final at More.
This time, however, it was Bishop Ryan that prevailed, 2-0.
It was BR’s first field hockey championship since 2019.
“We lost the first game and there was no way we were going to lose this one,” Celtics co-captain Celina Kubisch said. “We came out strong.”
Bishop Ryan led 1-0 at the half on a goal by Bianca Della Maestra. And late in the second half, after a brief threat by the Knights, Fiona Resovac capped the scoring.
“When we knew we were probably going to play More in the final we changed our system around,” Celtics coach Sara Pavao said. “We implemented a more defensive system in order to try and counter their very strong offence. We started training for this three or four weeks ago.”
First-place More scored 36 goals, while allowing just one this season. In comparison, the Celtics had 40 goals for and two against.
“(Bishop Ryan’s) passes were a little more crisp in this game,” More coach Gina LeJambe said. “They were moving up the field a lot better.
“We were playing well but the ball just wasn’t getting through. The girls were getting frustrated. It was not going our way.”
According to Pavao, it was no surprise to see junior-age players Resovac and Della Maestra score. “They are always our goalscorers,” she said. “That’s why they play the positions they play. They know that’s their role as forwards and they capitalized. They did a great job.”
Other players on the Celtics roster included Abigail Dennis, Genevieve Ferro, Dannika Lima, Mary Monaghan, Jada Perger, Isabel Casciano, Maya Valeri, Addison Fletcher, Caitlyn Pottinger, Abigale Tozer, Miranda Anderson, Natasha Cheeseman, Chemi Dennis, Felicia Ferro, Kailee Trowbridge, Eli Andrecyk and Elle Walsh.
“This is a really special group of girls,” Pavao said. “Everyone contributed in their own way. We knew we were going to have a strong team and be a contender this year. This team has the most depth that I’ve ever coached. Every one of our starters is experienced and strong.”
Pavao also praised the performance of three-year veteran Kubisch, who took all the free hits and piloted the short corners. “She’s the heart and soul of this team,” she said. “This program is essentially built around her.”
The Celtics will travel to Halton on Oct. 27 for the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championship. Their opponent will be the winner of the Halton Catholic vs. Halton Public GHAC semifinal.
Recent Hamilton Catholic quarter-final results were: Bishop Ryan 7 Cathedral 0; St. John Henry Newman 3 St. Jean de Brebeuf 2; Bishop Tonnos 3 St. Mary 2. In semifinal action, BR advanced with a 4-0 decision over Newman while More topped Tonnos, 7-0.