LITITZ – Like most, the Palmyra field hockey team’s memory is selective. While it filters out the unnecessary, it recalls both the good and the bad.
But make no mistake about the fact that everything retained by the Cougars is a learning experience.
On a rainy Wednesday night at Warwick High School’s Joseph Grosch Field, Palmyra’s memory served it well, during a 2-0 triumph over Twin Valley, in a semifinal contest of the District Three Class AA tournament. The Cougars netted late goals in each half, and played tight hockey in between.
With an 8-3 regular-season victory over Twin Valley on September 13th and last year’s 3-0 title loss to Donegal fresh on their minds, the top-seeded Cougars moved to 18-3 overall and into yet another District Three Class AA championship game – against East Pennsboro, Saturday at 3 p.m. at Milton Hershey School’s Henry Hershey Field. Palmyra is already the owner of 11 District Three titles, and had previously qualified for next week’s PIAA Class AA postseason.
Twin Valley, the number-five seed, slipped to 15-8 on the campaign.
“They’ve improved, plus it’s playoff hockey,” said Palmyra head coach Kent Harshman of Twin Valley. “You don’t expect games to be like they were in September. Our kids know what they have and what it’s going to take.
“We knew it was going to be a war,” continued Harshman. “We could see them again in two weeks (in the state playoffs). There were no surprises.”
“They knew how we played from the first time,” said Palmyra senior forward Mia Julian. “They knew what to expect. They were pushing us. But this was a really important game.
“This was to get us to the district championship game, and because last year we lost, we have some unfinished business,” added Julian. “We’re pushing towards that championship. This was a gateway to that game.”
Palmyra dominated the first half statistically, but couldn’t crack Twin Valley netminder Talayna Viscuso, until Julian took matters into her own hands.
A mere 2:05 before the break, Julian accepted a feed from teammate Anna Miller and dribbled along the right baseline towards the Twin Valley cage. Julian waited then deftly flipped a quick shot from a sharp angle that beat Viscuso to the far side.
“She’s had some big goals for us,” said Harshman of Julian. “She connected just right. It was one of those goals. It was just a huge pick-me-up. Before that, we had our opportunities. We were beating on them and beating on them.
“When you get one that close to the end of the half it just lifts you up,” Harshman continued. “They had a few opportunities in the first half, but we had a lot of opportunities. We had our shots. We got what we were looking for. But that’s a great boost going into halftime.”
“I didn’t have a lot of room,” said Julian. “She’s (Viscuso) a really good goalie, but I moved her and got a little opening.
“It raised our intensity a little bit,” Julian added. “It gave us a sense of security. It changed our game.”
In the second half, the Cougars did a good job of protecting their lead by controlling the flow of the action. Then with three minutes to go, they struck for an insurance tally.
It came off a corner insert from Julian, to senior Lauren Wadas at the top of the circle. Through traffic, Wadas’ blast beat Vicuso to the short side.
“I don’t really think we did,” said Harshman to the suggestion that his club played better in the first half than the second. “We had more shots and more opporunities, but if you’re talking about the entire field game, we played better in the second half.
“We weren’t doing the things we needed to do in the front of our unit in the first half,” added Harshman. “We made some adjustments at halftime and got that squared away. I thought it was much better in the second half.”
“We did well on our penalty corners,” said Julian. “We got good shots, we just didn’t finish. Their goalie is really strong.”
With ten in the first half and five in the second half, Palmyra outshot Twin Valley 15-4. The Cougars won the penalty-corners battle 10-4.
Palmyra goalie Katie Knol logged four saves to record the shutout.
“Katie Knol has improved tremendously,” said Harshman. “She made some big saves. She is confident right now.”
“It’s really important to us,” said Julian, returning to Saturday. “We were so close last year. We have unfinished business. We’re going to give it the best we have.’
|2019-09-11||A||vs||Mechanicsburg Area Senior(3)||W||10-1|
|2019-09-21||H||vs||State College Area(3)||W||9-0|
|2019-09-30||H||vs||Mechanicsburg Area Senior(3)||W||8-0|
|2019-10-02||H||vs||Berks Catholic School(3)||W||10-0|
|3||East Pennsboro Area||15-||3-||0||0.716965||0.825581||0.584211||14.2||188.7||3.0||134.3|
|7||Berks Catholic School||14-||3-||0||0.659057||0.789474||0.499658||12.0||146.0||3.2||146.2|
|15||Mechanicsburg Area Senior||9-||9-||0||0.526155||0.523810||0.529022||8.8||167.7||8.0||149.3|
|17||West York Area||10-||6-||2||0.517140||0.571429||0.450787||10.4||137.4||7.8||167.4|
|34||Spring Grove Area||1-||15-||2||0.274792||0.119048||0.465146||2.0||146.8||14.8||168.8|
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