PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/24/2017 – It was a hot day. The stat sheet had the weather listed as ‘Too Hot For September 24’ and it was right. Playing in temperatures of 90 degrees both the La Salle Explorers and Saint Joseph’s Hawks gave it all they had in a local and league derby at Sweeney Field. Both teams had to substitute, both teams had momentum, both teams had opportunities.
In the end La Salle got the last break on an overtime, unassisted goal by Madison Bower, her third of the season, in the 94th minute to earn a 3 – 2 win over host Saint Joseph’s.
“That’s what we have, and hope your depth wins the game,” said La Salle coach Paul Royal. “That’s what it was, who could stand at the end of the game, who could still make those runs. They showed a lot at the end of regulation. We got that rest and that helped us. It shows how conditioned these kids are, both Saint Joe’s and us.”
It turned out to be a big day for the Bower family. Sister Maci Bower also posted her third goal of the campaign in the 59th minute to give the Explorers a 2 – 1 lead. Bower got the ball, made a cross-over move toward the center of the field, got past the defender, and buried the ball into the lower right corner.
Morgan Bower, the third sister, plays for the Hawks. It appeared La Salle would hang on for the win in regulation. Late in the second half the Explorers attempted to clear the ball at the top of the box, but it was controlled by Bower who got behind the defender and the goal keeper, then shot low for the equalizer at the 77:06 mark.
“It was a great day for the Bower family,” Royal said. “The younger sister scored the tying goal. Our Maci scoring a lead goal, and Madison to win it. It was an incredible show to see what that family is capable of.”
Saint Joseph’s got the early lead. It appeared to be important especially in the weather conditions. Gabrielle Vagnozzi scored her team-best fifth of the season in the 7th minute. The lead held to halftime.
“We had opportunities and needed to put our chances away,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Jess Mannella. “If we put our chances away, we wouldn’t have been in this spot.”
“We haven’t lost in overtime in awhile.”
La Salle had a 16 – 13 edge in shots, and 5 – 3 in corner kicks. Goal Keeper Larisa Zambelli made 5 saves in 81 minutes of play. Grace Bendon made 5 saves for Saint Joe’s.
The Explorers improve to 7 – 3 – 1, and 2 – 0 in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks are 6 – 3 – 1 overall, 1 – 1 in conference.
The game went back and forth with La Salle coming away with the win. It just intensifies the local rivalry even more.
“It’s always a fun game to play,” Mannella said. “It’s a conference game and it means a lot more than that. One of our girls has sisters on the other team. But it’s more than that the whole Saint Joe’s – La Salle rivalry has been going years.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian