BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – 20 to 12. Three-on-twos, and two-on-ones. 4-1.
From the bench to the circle to the scoreboard.
It is the first rule of warfare: The simplest way to defeat an enemy is to out number them.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Annville-Cleona field hockey team’s superior numbers translated into odd-person scoring rushes, more offenders than defenders and ultimately a 4-1 victory over a short-handed Northern Lebanon club. Netting a pair of goals in each half, the Little Dutchmen opened a 4-0 lead midway through the second half.
The contest served as the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three opener for both local teams. Annville-Cleona is now 2-0 overall, while the Vikings slipped to 0-2 in the early going of 2013.
“I thought we did a lot of things on the fast break, and some of those turned into goals,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Sue Felty. “We practice it. It’s certainly what we try to do. Alex (forward, Siebecker) is fast and we certainly try to get it out to her.
“We should’ve had an advantage, with more players,” said Felty. “I was obviously able to substitute more freely. In other games, we were the better conditioned team. But that wasn’t true today. But you can only call so many timeouts and take so many breaks.”
“In our defensive circle, yes we were out numbered,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Michelle Krall, who had one substitute at her disposal. “Annville-Cleona is very attacking, and they were getting in there (the circle) before us. We need to do a better job of getting back, and Annville-Cleona took advantage of their attack. Sometimes it looked like they had numbers in the circle, and sometimes they did.”
Annville-Cleona wasted precious little time using their speed and superior numbers to grab a 1-0 edge, 1:24 to be exact. Off the opening hit and going down hill, Annville-Cleona was rewarded a corner, and off that resulting restart, Siebecker converted a rebound from the middle of the circle.
Then 15:51 before halftime, Addie Hayes made it 2-0 Little Dutchmen. Off a semi-breakaway, Hayes soloed into the Viking circle and with time to size up NL netminder Daniel Kreiser, chose to beat him short side.
“Actually, they did a good job,” said Felty of the Vikings. “We let up a little bit. We started out hard, but then lost our fire. And we didn’t seem to be able to find our focus.
“Northern Lebanon always plays their A-game against us,” Felty added. “It seemed like a much closer game than 4-1.”
“I thought we played well,” said Krall. “We gave it our all. We did what we needed to do. But I thought we could’ve used a few more opportunities to score. I don’t think the score indicated the kind of game we played. Our 12 girls played with heart.”
Annville-Cleona netted two goals in a 2:42 span in the middle of the second half to put the outcome to rest.
First, Siebecker ripped off a quick rebound-wrister that beat Kreiser through the ‘five-hole’, after the Little Dutchmen had out-numbered the Vikings with an odd-person rush. Then Lauren Cole got a piece of a Kayla Parks attempt to re-direct it into the NL cage.
“I thought we played a better game on Friday against Lancaster Country Day,” said Felty of her team’s season opener. “Overall, it’s going well. They (her players) work and they really don’t complain. They have the right attitude. It’s certainly too early to talk about things on the long-term.”
“Why do we only have 12?,” said Krall. “I think the move of soccer to the fall hurt us, and we need a stronger youth program We have girls waiting to come up to the high school. It’s about the youth program. We don’t want girls to discover the sport in high school.
“We’re in very good shape (physically),” Krall continued. “I don’t have a single kid who has said to me, ‘I’m tired. I need a break.’ Most of them play 60, full, hard minutes of field hockey. We have to be in good shape. It would be great to give our girls breaks, but we’re making the best of what we have.”
Northern Lebanon averted the shutout with 8:21 to go, when, from a scramble in front of the Annville-Cleona goal, Samantha Ziegler assisted Sara Smith.
The Little Dutchmen used a 12-2 first-half margin to out shoot the Vikings 20-6. A-C enjoyed an 8-7 edge in penalty corners.
“No, I wouldn’t say that’s too low,” said Felty of aspiring to last season’s 10-8 overall mark. “Every season I’ve coached we’ve gotten more wins. In the first season I took over, we had no wins. Ten wins is a lot of wins. I don’t know how high the expectations should be. I’d like to do at least as good as last year.”
“No, our numbers haven’t lowered our goals,” said Krall. “We want to win games. We want to play our hearts out. We don’t even think about the fact that there’s 12 on our team. So far, that’s the way it’s been.”