The Wildcats, who had been ranked No. 1 in the country until a 1-0 non-league loss against Downingtown West Saturday, showed their moxie with three first-half goals in a 3-0 shutout over the Phantoms in a Pioneer Athletic Conference game.
Owen J. Roberts (8-0 PAC-10, 9-1 overall) received goals from Heather Manorek, Kristi Moltz and Aimee Bux in blanking the much-improved Phantoms (6-2, 6-3).
"This is always a tough field to come to," said Owen J. Roberts coach Joe Margusity. "It is always a close game.
"The field is short and not very wide. (Phoenixville's) Mike (Koch) is a good coach and knows how to defend it. Ashley Habbel is a threat with her speed up top. She got loose once and is always dangerous. I don't think our girls realized how fast she was."
Habbel, who leads the PAC-10 with 17 goals, was surrounded by Owen J. Roberts defenders Kim Roncase and Jillian Morgan. Wildcat senior goalkeeper Anna Bevan posted the shutout with two saves on just three Phoenixville shots.
The Wildcats, who played without their leading scorer, injured Rachel Michener (13 goals), who is second only to Habbel, controlled possession throughout the day. They fired 24 shots in the direction of Phoenixville freshman goalie Becca Clayton (11 saves) and kept the ball away from the Phoenixville attackers.
Manorek, a junior, tallied her 11th goal while Moltz, another junior, deposited her sixth goal. They assisted each other at the 10- and 32-minute marks of the first half.
Bux, a freshman, tallied on a 20-yarder from the left side with a minute left in the opening half.
"With Rachel out, we moved Kristine Preski up to center midfield until Rachel gets back," Margusity said. "She did a good job of holding the ball and creating things."
Preski is a sophomore on a young and talented Wildcat squad that features just four seniors in Jess Carbo, Jen Michener, Brooke Dotterer (injured) and Bevan. On a similar note, Phoenixville has only two seniors.
"They (Wildcats) knew they should have gotten a better result against Downingtown," Margusity said. "We were not ready to play and they scored a quick goal. We let one get away. Today we were more prepared and ready to play."
It was the first goal allowed by OJR this season.
Koch was still satisfied with the effort put forth by his Phantoms.
"They are the number one team in the country," Koch said. "But we didn't quit. We fought hard and did a lot of smart things. We played smart and played within ourselves and played hard."
Koch thought his defensive backs - Alison Iacobucci, Kat Garone, Julie Dugan and Jess Pierce - held up adequately despite consistent pressure by the Wildcats.
"Owen J. Roberts is technically and tactically better than everybody and also bigger, stronger and faster than anybody around," Koch said. "On top of that they have the best goalkeeper in the league.
"I am as proud as any with our effort all the way around. The defenders did a good job. They had to work hard."
Owen J. Roberts 3, Phoenixville 0
Owen J. Roberts 3 0 - 3
Phoenixville 0 0 - 0
Goals: Owen J. Roberts, Heather Manorek (Kristi Moltz) 10; Kristi Moltz (Heather Manorek) 32; Aimee Bux 39.
Saves: Owen J. Roberts, Anna Bevan 2. Phoenixville-Becca Clayton 11.
Corner Kicks: Owen J. Roberts, 8. Phoenixville 3.
Shots: Owen J. Roberts 24. Phoenixville 3.