BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – It’s soon time for the Annville-Cleona field hockey team to set some season goals, employing both optimism and caution.
On Thursday afternoon, the resurgent Little Dutchmen continued to advance their season with a 2-0 whitewashing of Tulpehocken. Annville-Cleona scored just before halftime and right after the break to legitimize a dominant performance.
With the non-league victory, the Little Dutchmen improved to 5-3 overall. The Trojans slipped to 3-7.
“Honestly, we have not looked ahead one bit, and that has helped us,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Sue Felty, whose troops are 4-2 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. “We haven’t talked about ‘what-ifs’. I don’t want to go there. I’m superstitious and I don’t want to jinx us. We’re still not talking about lofty goals.
“We’re not where I thought we’d be, in an absolutely great way,” Felty continued. “We’re a young team. We had eight seniors leave. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would come down to the way we came together. They’re (her players) already playing beyond expectations. I’m hoping we’re going to get even better.”
Annville-Cleona carried the play most of the day. But the contest was headed to halftime scoreless, before Barb Inman and Alex Siebecker stepped in.
Off an extended corner 38 seconds before intermission, Inman, from the middle of the circle, pushed a ball towards the right post of the Trojan cage. Whether it was a pass or a shot became a moot point when a streaking Siebecker ran onto it and touched the ball inside the post.
“We had so many crosses come across,” said Felty. “It was like, ‘finally we could put one away’. It was a nice cross. I’m guessing Barb sent it across, and Alex tipped it in. We’ve been working on it a lot in practice, and you hope they’re putting into practice what you’ve been teaching them.
“It did absolutely change the complexion,” Felty added. “We had been in our offensive end so much. It was critical. We’ve played in games that we dominated and didn’t score.”
Annville-Cleona reserve Mindy Reigle, who had unsuccessfully attempted to enter the game at the end of the halftime while Siebecker was scoring her goal, took a cue from Siebecker when she got her chance early in the second half. Two minutes and 32 seconds in, Reigle collected a loose ball in the middle of the circle and wristed a well-placed shot inside the left post.
“We just put Mindy in,” said Felty. “And by the time I turned around, Mindy was scoring. I didn’t even get a chance to see it. We joked with her, she was in ten seconds, she scored and now it’s time to come out.
“We played great,” added Felty. “They really came together. We had a bad game Monday against Lancaster Catholic. We lost 4-1 and we were flat. We didn’t play like we did today. This is how we can play.”.
The final stats were very reflective of the degree to which Annville-Cleona dominated the game. Splitting their shots equally between each half, the Little Dutchmen out shot Tulpehocken 16-1. A-C took nine corners to the Trojans’ two.
“We tend not to be a big picture type of team,” said Felty. “We’re looking game to game. They’re (the Trojans) traditionally a tough program, and they beat Elco and Northern Lebanon. The way we played Monday, I was glad we had this game. And we’re going to have momentum tomorrow against Lancaster Mennonite.
“The one thing I’ve noticed,” continued Felty, “and it sounds so simple, when we work on things in practice they (her players) do it in games. It’s one thing to say it. And it’s another thing to follow through and do it.”
Perhaps the same would be true with goals.