EAST ROCKHILL — Eli Ricciardi’s shots were a fitting climax to the Rams’ overtime thriller with Wissahickon on Tuesday night.

“I felt so good because I was really struggling to execute my shots and put them where I wanted,” Ricciardi said with a smile. “So being able to put the shots and put them where we really needed to be was really exciting.”

Her coach Jacob Grant said: “Ellie lit it up from there. They were crossed, top 90 – no keeper will reach that. It was very interesting to see. She works very hard. She was All-State Honorable Mention last year, so it was great to see her carry that over into her junior year and become even more of a leader on this team.”

The Pennridge natatorium erupted as the Rams cruised to a 13-11 victory over the team that defeated them in the fifth-place state game a season ago.

“To come back and beat them in a season game is really exciting,” Ricciardi said.

Eli Ricciardi helped Pennridge beat Wissahickon in overtime. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

The Wissahickon boys defeated Pennridge 15-6 in the second game of the two respective programs splitting a doubleheader.

In the girls game, the Rams were tied 7-7 after four quarters, and then it was time for Ricciardi.

“Our set of holes (Adi Garges) is really good, so they double-teamed her and left one of our girls open. They left me open a lot, so I was available for outside shots more,” she said. “So in overtime, they didn’t rush up there as much, so I was able to hit there.”

Ricciardi made three shots in OT to give Pennridge the lead. The Rams were able to score six goals in two three-minute overtime periods.

Said Grant: “For the last 12 months we’ve been shooting, shooting, shooting – outside. Tonight, the biggest difference was (Wiss) leaving our girls outside and double-teaming our set of holes, we could hit from the outside.”

Goalie Caitlin Cuthbert blocks 14 shots for Pennridge against Wissahickon on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.  (Kev Hunter, MediaNews Group)
Goalie Caitlin Cuthbert blocks 14 shots for Pennridge against Wissahickon on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. (Kev Hunter, MediaNews Group)

Ricciardi scored a total of five goals for the team. Garges added four, Lynn Evers had a pair and Emily Myers and Ava Vesey each had a goal.

“I think we had a rough start and we struggled to get back into it and have a team flow, but I think tonight we had a very good team flow and a very good team dynamic,” Ricciardi said. “And we were able to really come together tonight.”

It was a tough loss for Wiss, who led most of the way in the second half.

“Towards the end, we got undisciplined and got away from what was working,” Trojans coach Greg Beyer said. “They adapted, but we didn’t. They found a way to win and we made the same mistake over and over again.

“This is a good team, a talented team. They are smart. It’s a shame because we had a chance and were so close. But it will make us better.”

The two teams have developed a pretty good rivalry over the past couple of seasons.

“We split the series with them last year – it couldn’t be closer. His girls are physical, strong, and know how to shoot. And I love playing Greg, Grant said.

“We defended the home pool and now three weeks later we go to them and they defend the home pool. So we’ll see if we can get in there and go for a sweep. I’m really excited to play them again – I’d play them again tomorrow.”

The Wissahickon boys huddle during the Battle of Wissahickon.  (Kev Hunter, MediaNewsGroup)
Wissahickon boys huddle during a battle with Pennridge. (Kev Hunter, MediaNewsGroup)

It was a sensational night for the Wyss offense in the boys competition, keyed by Nate Valentine who scored a career-high six goals.

Jack Johnson (four goals), Nick Donafrio (two), Carmen Schoppe (two) and Hudson Bowers (one) all contributed for the Trojans.

Schoppe was the catalyst on defense with seven steals.


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