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 ANNVILLE – Annville-Cleona has methodically, systematically constructed a strong field hockey program. The Little Dutchmen are consistent contenders, they have high expectations and they feature a seemingly revolving door of talented players.

 But do you know what the Little Dutchmen are also good at? Prevailing when they aren’t necessarily at their best.

 On a hot Wednesday after-school at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen kept their early-season momentum flowing with a dicey 2-1, overtime victory over Lancaster Country Day. Braeten Peters notched the winning tally for A-C, 5:41 into the 15-minute, seven-on-seven extra session.

 The visiting Cougars had sent the game to overtime by converting a penalty stroke with 1:01 remaining in regulation.

 The triumph was Annville-Cleona’s fourth straight to start the season and left it 4-0 overall and 4-0 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. It’s the same type of start that produced Section Three championships in 2016 and 2017, a runner-up finish last season and three straight trips to the District Three Class A postseason.

 The outcome dropped Lancaster Country Day to 1-3 on the fall and 1-3 in the circuit.

  “We’re getting there,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Carrie Gingrich of her program’s recent success. “You’re definitely starting to see girls coming up. This freshman class came from the year we started the youth league. Our junior high program is getting better and our numbers are getting bigger. We’d love to have a tradition like Palmyra’s or Hershey’s. Teams know who you are.

 “Ever since I got here, we’ve been doing well,” continued Gingrich. “It’s our goal, every year, to win the section. They (her players) want to win it again, win a game or two in districts and maybe get to states.”

 After surrendering the late tying goal, the Little Dutchmen recaptured their momentum early in overtime.

   Annville-Cleona forward Grace Renninger controlled a loose ball on the left wing and dribbled towards the Cougar cage. Renninger unleashed a high wrister that Lancaster Country Day goalie Ryan DeGreen knocked out of the air.

 The ball landed at her feet and Peters was at the right place at the right time and drove it into the right part of the cage.

 “It was just fighting to the end,” said Gingrich of Peters’ opportunistic play. “It was just having your stick down and shooting to the corner. It’s tough no matter what. But it’s especially tough when it’s seven-on-seven.

 “We were prepared for it,” Gingrich added. “You have to be smart with it. It’s a mutual game of wills. You’ve got to tell yourself you’re not tired.”

 The Little Dutchmen had enjoyed the better of the play most of the way, but still only owned a precarious 1-0 edge. That was until Lancaster Country Day’s Whitney Finney was awarded a stroke with just over a minute to go.

 Finney was on target, as she beat Annville-Cleona net-minder Grace Coleman to her stick side with a low blast, to tie the score.

  “We played well,” said Gingrich. “We’ve been getting better each game. They (her players) were tired. I think the heat did it to them. We were tying to sub a lot.

 “We knew they (the Cougars) were going to be tough,” Gingrich continued. “Every team in the section is going to be tough. There are no easy wins in the section. We knew they’d lost to Northern Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon is doing well. They’re (the Cougars) always tough.”

 Annville-Cleona had led 1-0 for the better part of 32 minutes, thanks to a Sarah Speraw tally, 3:55 before halftime.

  During some extended pressure from a corner insert, the Little Dutchmen moved the ball smartly around the circle. Moving it from right to left, the ball ended up on Speraw’s stick on the left wing, and from there she banged it home.

  “I thought we played well defensively,” said Gingrich. “We knew they had a couple of strong players in there. We’ve been active and talking in the circle.

 “We have a tough week next week, with Northern Lebanon and Elco,” added Gingrich. “That’ll be the true test. We lost a couple of really strong seniors from last year. They were a small class, but everything was based on them. They were play-makers on the field.”

  According to the final stat line, Annville-Cleona out shot Lancaster Country Day 16-12. The Little Dutchmen were awarded eight penalty corners, while the Cougars inserted six.

 “This group has really come together as a team,” said Gingrich. “We don’t have that one strong player. They have to work together.

 “I’ve got some great girls this year,” continued Gingrich. “They’ve been playing since elementary school. That’s going to help them tremendously. They have an extra six years of playing time.”












To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.














 2019 Annville-Cleona Field Hockey Schedule

Date Opponents Outcomes  
4:00 pm
at Lancaster Catholic
4:00 pm
at Lancaster Mennonite
4:00 pm
at Lebanon
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
at Elco
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
at Lancaster Country Day
4:00 pm
Bishop McDevitt
at Annville-Cleona
7:00 pm
at Octorara
4:00 pm
at Annville-Cleona
4:00 pm
at Northern Lebanon
 Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
  League Overall
Northern Lebanon 4 0 0 100.00 6 0 0 100.00 18 6
Annville-Cleona 3 0 0 100.00 3 0 0 100.00 9 5
Elco 2 1 0 66.67 2 1 0 66.67 8 1
Lancaster Mennonite 2 1 0 66.67 2 2 0 50.00 6 9
Octorara 2 2 0 50.00 3 2 0 60.00 8 10
Lancaster Country Day 1 3 0 25.00 1 3 0 25.00 9 7
Lebanon 0 4 0 0.00 0 4 0 0.00 1 10
Lancaster Catholic 0 3 0 0.00 0 5 0 0.00 5 23


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