BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – Success is one of the most ambiguous terms in all of sports. Just because everybody defines it differently.
For some, the meaning of it actually changes as seasons progress. But no matter the definition, everyone seeks it.
Some define it as cohesion.
Some measure it with wins.
Some define it as improvement.
Some measure it by postseasons.
On Wednesday night at Edward and Jeannie Arnold Field at Earl Boltz Stadium, the Cedar Crest field hockey team continued to wrestle with the concept of success. On Senior Night, facing a must-win situation, the Falcons scored a decisive 6-1 victory over visiting McCaskey.
Powered by a natural hat trick from senior star Emily Peters – two of which came 49 seconds apart in the middle of the opening stanza – the Falcons opened a 4-0 halftime bulge. With two additional assists, Peters actually figured in five of Cedar Crest’s six scores, while teammate Tasia Rutter contributed a pair of goals and Emily Hombach recorded a goal and an assist.
The decision was imperative to Cedar Crest’s postseason aspirations. Now 7-8 overall and 3-7 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, the Falcons were situated 14th in a latest District Three Class AAA power rankings that includes the top ten for its playoff tournament.
McCaskey, which had dropped a 4-1 decision to the Falcons in Lancaster back on Sept. 16, fell to 2-7 overall and 0-7 in the league.
“I think the jury’s still out,” said Cedar Crest head coach Dana Risser. “We still have three games left. The district playoffs is a goal. Obviously if we don’t get there it would be disappointing. But if we don’t it doesn’t mean the season is not a success. I don’t always coach to win. It’s important for them (her players) to be part of a team.
“Our goals at the beginning of the season were to make the playoffs,” continued Risser. “We always want to compete at the district level. We want to put a competitive line-up out on the field every game. We definitely improved as the season went along.”
The Falcons opened the scoring 2:49 into the contest, off extended pressure from a corner. Through some traffic in front of the Red Tornado cage, Peters managed to squirt a pass to Rutter at right post, and all that was left for Rutter to do was bang it into cage.
Seven minutes later, Peters finished herself and notched the first of her three tallies. Going right, she ripped a hard drive that beat the McCaskey goalie from a hard angle.
“Our goal tonight was to score in the first five minutes,” said Risser. “We wanted to set the tone. We wanted to come out aggressive. It was a great start. It allows you to relax a little bit.
“They (her players) were just being aggressive,” Risser continued. “They were stepping to the ball. They got in scoring positions and capitalized on their opportunities.”
Peters was just as athletic on her second tally, the one which gave Cedar Crest a 3-0 advantage, 19:48 before the break. With room, she dribbled into the circle and unleashed a blast inside the left post.
Then Peters went reverse to complete her hat trick. Accepting a feed from Emma Holzman, she found the left side of the McCaskey cage from the middle of the field.
“I thought our kids played fired up,” said Risser. “Our eleven seniors were really excited. Our kids played loose and aggressive.
“Honestly, it was important because we were riding a three-game losing skid,” added Risser. “We had to get momentum back. I was disappointed with last week. It was important to feel cohesive and confident again.”
If there was any doubt about the outcome, the Falcons removed it by scoring on their first two shots, during the first two minutes of the second half.
First off a corner, Hombach made it 5-0 by rushing to the right post to redirect a pass from Peters at the top of the circle. Then Rutter recorded an unassisted tally, on a hard, well-placed shot from the left side of the field.
“Obviously it was an emotional night,” said Risser. “It was a big class. It was nice to see all eleven on the field together.
“They (last week’s three setbacks) were gut-wrenching losses,” Risser added. “One was in overtime to Warwick. And we lost to Hempfield, after we beat them earlier in the season. They were all win-able games in my mind. And we had our chances in all three games.”
With 18 coming over the first 30 minutes of action, Cedar Crest out shot McCaskey 21-2. The Falcons also enjoyed a 12-0 advantage in penalty corners.
“Obviously it’s disappointing with districts,” said Risser. “We had a couple of close losses. We have thee games left, with Penn Manor in there. We need to go 2-1 to have a chance. But the kids aren’t fizzling.
“It would take some luck on our side,” Risser continued. ‘I’m never going to say never. You never know what’s going to happen. And you never know what’s going to happen with other teams. We could squeak into number ten.”
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|4:00 PM||W 7-1|
|4:00 PM||W 5-1|
|7:00 PM||L 1-2|
|4:00 PM||W 4-2|
|7:00 PM||L 4-5|
Wilson West Lawn
|4:00 PM||L 0-3|
|4:00 PM||W 4-1|
|4:00 PM||L 1-5|
|7:00 PM||L 0-8|
|9:00 AM||W 7-2|
|2:30 PM||W 5-0|
|7:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|4:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|4:00 PM||Penn Manor High School|
Section One Standings
PIAA District Three
Class AAA Power Rankings
|20||J P McCaskey||2-||11-||1||0.409041||0.229508||0.628469|
|23||Central Dauphin East||1-||12-||1||0.266592||0.097222||0.473599|
|24||York Country Day School||0-||7-||0||0.159363||0.000000||0.354140|