Ellis School goalie Barge makes mark as freshman

Monday, November 13, 2017 | 11:00 PM

Sewickley resident Genna Barge did not know what to expect in her first season on the Ellis School field hockey team.

“I thought I would just be a freshman goalie among (upperclassman) goaltenders who didn't hold a starting spot,” she said.

But she became far more.

Barge posted 13 shutouts for the Tigers (17-2-1 overall) and helped them to their second straight WPIAL Class A title and fourth overall. The Tigers, who are based in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, were WPIAL Class AA champions in 2014 and '15 before Class A was created.

They reached the quarterfinals of the PIAA playoffs, marking the first time in four seasons they made it past the first round.

“Being a goalie can be a little nerve-racking as a freshman,” said Barge, who took up field hockey in fifth grade. “At practice, I had seniors firing balls at my chest and arms, but I got used (to) it and gained confidence through not only my amazing coach, Amanda Rose, but my supportive teammates.”

Rose is impressed by Barge's determination.

“She has grown so much from when she walked on the turf in August,” Rose said. “Genna is tough, wants to play field hockey in college and is always pushing to be better.”

Rose expects things to be more challenging for Barge next season after two defenders graduate.

Barge was proud to be a WPIAL champion and looks forward to one day carrying the Tigers to their first PIAA crown. The Tigers beat Shady Side Academy by one goal in the WPIAL final Nov. 1, avenging a loss in Class AA in the regular season.

“The feeling of stopping a hard shot during the final minutes of a huge game is an experience I will always remember,” Barge said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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