BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – They say things are never going quite as well as they seem, just like they’re never going quite as bad as they seem.
The Cedar Crest field hockey team probably isn’t as good as the final score could indicate. But the Falcons might be a bit better than their record suggests.
On Tuesday afternoon, on the turf of Arnold Field at Earl Boltz Stadium, Cedar Crest evened its record at .500 with a 10-0 demolition of visiting McCaskey. Scoring goals in bunches, the Falcons opened an insurmountable 6-0 lead at halftime.
In all, six different Falcons found the back of the cage, including junior Emily Peters, who registered a hat trick and a pair of assists. Senior Maddie Gable contributed two goals and an assist to the Cedar Crest cause, while teammate Emily Hombach netted a pair of markers and Karis Colbert collected a couple of helpers.
The triumph lifted a Cedar Crest club that is trying to get back to the District Three Class AAA postseason to 4-4 overall, and 3-3 in rugged Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. McCaskey fell to 0-6 in the circuit and 0-7 on the season.
“Things went really well,” said Cedar Crest head coach Dana Risser with a smile. “The kids wanted to come out and prove a point. We got off to a quick start, and our penalty corners were working really well today.
“If anything, today was important for our mindset,” Risser continued. “It’s a game we’ve won in the past, so the kids can leave their guard down. But I thought they were really focused.”
The Falcons certainly got off on the right foot with goals from Gable, Hombach and Peters three minutes apart early in the first half. Less than five minutes in, off some sustained Cedar Crest pressure, an unattended Gable knocked one home from the left door step.
Hombach’s and Peters’ came 25 seconds apart. Off a corner, Hombach converted a Colbert look, while Peters’ hard blast needed no help.
Neither CC starting goalie Kelsey Bell or reliever Hannah Funk were called upon to make a save during the combined shutout.
“I thought our kids looked to pass the ball around,” said Risser. “Our kids have individual skills, but they didn’t change the game plan. We played the passing game. And we focused on getting everybody involved.
“Relentless in the circle has kind of been our motto,” added Risser. “I thought Maddie Gable got it going for us with her two goals.”
Cedar Crest also tallied three goals in the 13:48 before the intermission. From the goal mouth, Cailie Bernard got into the act for the Falcons, finishing a Peters’ attempt to make it 4-0.
A minute-and-a-half later, Taylor Kauffman became the fifth Falcon to score, off a redirection of a Peters bomb. And Gable finished what she started by converting a nice look/find from Colbert.
“I felt comfortable halfway through the first half, maybe,” said Risser. “You want the kids to stay sharp and you want to treat opponents with respect. We got some subs some playing time. But I think when you play hard throughout the game it’s a sign of respect. Once we got to five or six goals, we knew we had to work on possession.
“I’ve never seen a group work hard like this one does,” continued Risser. “When they come to practice, it’s business time. I think our execution of skills is much better.”
Peters completed her hat trick with a pair of hard drives, 1:33 apart early in the second half. The first was set up by an across-the-body feed from Gable, while the second resulted from a corner and a pass from Kauffman.
Rounding out the scoring were Hombach and senior Lexie Eberly, who converted a penalty stroke.
“Yeah, it’s good, but we want to be great this year,” said Risser of her club’s .500 mark. “It’s a long process. We’re happy where we’re at, but not satisfied.
“I think we are better than we were last year,” Risser added. “Our fundamental skills are definitely better and our understanding of the game is definitely better. Handling the mental part of the game has been our biggest challenge this year. How we handle the pressure. The pressure is from themselves (her players). They set team goals and they have high expectations. And I think they’ve set realistic goals.”
Cedar Crest out shot McCaskey 26-0. The Falcons took ten penalty corners compared to the Red Tornado’s two.
McCaskey didn’t record its first penalty corner until three minutes of the second half had elapsed.
“Our goals are very simple,” said Risser, who has returned nine starters from a year ago. “Practice with a consistent work ethic. We also want to practice the three P’s – persistence, patience and possession.
“Getting to districts wasn’t a goal this year,” added Risser. “It’s an expectation. They (her players) expect to be in the district playoffs. In our section, it’s more of a challenge to get into the league playoffs.”
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Section One Standings
2015 Cedar Crest Results
|4:00 PM||L 0-1|
|4:00 PM||W 4-1|
|7:00 PM||L 2-3|
|4:00 PM||W 3-1|
|5:30 PM||L 2-3|
|4:00 PM||W 3-2|
|4:00 PM||W 10-0|
|5:30 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|7:00 PM||Penn Manor High School|
|4:00 PM||Conestoga Valley High School|
|4:00 PM||Hempfield High School|
|4:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|7:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|4:00 PM||McCaskey High School|
|5:30 PM||Manheim Twp. High School|