ANNVILLE – Regular season.
Seasons of the year.
Shoot, kids don’t care. They just want to play.
Yesterday, the Annville-Cleona field hockey team played like it wanted to play some more.
On a sun-drenched Wednesday evening at Annville-Cleona High School, a Little Dutchmen club seeking to prolong their shortened season scored a pivotal 3-1 home triumph over Solanco. Annville-Cleona netted a pair of goals in a 2:31 stretch spanning the first and second quarters to assume a 2-0 lead.
The outcome moved the Little Dutchmen to 6-4 on the fall, 5-4 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and very much boosted their District Three postseason hopes. With three regular season games remaining, Annville-Cleona was positioned ninth in a District Three A classification that takes eight for its playoff tournament.
The Little Dutchmen have qualified for that postseason in each of the last four seasons.
With the loss, Solanco fell to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in Section Four. Back on October 1st in Quarryville, the Mules had edged Annville-Cleona 1-0.
“I told the girls at the beginning of the season that I didn’t think we were going to have a season,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Carrie Gingrich of the hovering COVID-19 cloud. “We play each game like it’s our last game, because it could be our last. All of our competitions have been really good. All of our games have been tight.
“We’re close (on the bubble),” continued Gingrich. “If we have a good game at Garden Spot on Friday, it’ll help. We play all (Class) AA and AAA schools in our section, so we have a pretty tough schedule. We’ve been hanging.”
As a score-less opening quarter was drawing to a close, Annville-Cleona grabbed a 1-0 lead. With seven seconds left in the stanza, a long ball was sent towards the Solanco cage, and Little Dutchman Grace Renninger got her stick on it and deflected it past Mules’ goalie Kimmy Beacham.
Then, 2:24 into the second period, Elizabeth Matusiak made it 2-0 Annville-Cleona. From an extended rebound at the left side of the Solanco circle, Matusiak smacked a well-placed reverse shot into the far side of the goal.
“It was just kind of a deflection,” said Gingrich of Renninger’s tally. “It was quick. You try to get a stick on it before it gets to the cage, no matter what. And you always cheer when the ball ends up in the goal.
“Compared to a couple of other teams in our section, we’re kind of even and all-around with our scoring,” added Gingrich. “We have four or five girls who have between three and four goals. It’s been nice to have an even attack this season.”
Despite the fact that Solanco didn’t register its first shot until 5:43 of the second half had expired and the Little Dutchmen had owned the flow of the play to that point, Solanco pulled to within 2-1 of the lead, 1:07 into the fourth quarter. From the right part of the A-C circle, Mule Mariah Stoltzfus switched the ball quickly, and going left, slipped it by Little Dutchmen netminder Grace Coleman.
It took Annville-Cleona exactly 58 seconds to respond. Awarded a penalty stroke, Renninger made good on the opportunity by drilling a shot inside the left post.
“You always like to have a two-goal cushion,” said Gingrich. “A goal can happen anytime, just like that. We wanted to get that two-goal cushion back.
“We played pretty good,” Gingrich added. “We lost to them down there and we didn’t play our best game. We were ready to play them. We really enjoy playing on our field.”
When the final count came in, Annville-Cleona had out shot Solanco 10-7. The Mules were awarded 12 penalty corners, compared to the Little Dutchmen’s four.
“We did well defensively,” said Gingrich. “Our defense is probably the strongest part of our team. We have strong defenders.
“If we want to make it to the playoffs, we have to win out, or possibly lose one,” Gingrich continued. “If we make it to districts this year, I think it’s a pretty big thing. It was a goal at the beginning of the season. I have a good group of seniors and they’ve all been playing together for however long. They’ve all been working their butts off. You just never know.”
at Garden Spot
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