Lady Barons clinch berth in States
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Brittiny Griffith and Paige Daniel are the two leading goal scorers for the Manheim Central field hockey team and both girls stepped up in one of the Lady Barons’ biggest games of the season last Thursday.
With a PIAA State berth on the line, Griffith and Daniel scored first-half goals and the 20th-seeded Central girls went on to shut out Conrad Weiser 2-0 in a District Three Double-A consolation game at Governor Mifflin.
The victory clinched one of the District’s six berths to the State playoffs, which got underway this week.
"I think it kinda goes to show that passion goes a long way in playing and the girls are slowly realizing that and we’ve been fortunate enough to continue playing," Central coach Sam Shober said.
The Lady Barons (13-10) eventually took sixth place in the District playoffs after suffering a 4-2 loss to sixth-seeded Susquenita in the fifth/sixth place game in Hershey.
The Blackhawks jumped to a 3-1 first-half advantage in that game and held on for the decision.
On Thursday, though, it was Manheim Central which was in the driver’s seat in the opening 30 minutes. Although the ninth-seeded Scouts (12-9-2) held the advantage in shots (7-6) and penalty corners (12-4), the MC girls took advantage of their opportunities.
"Sometimes statistics don’t show the whole game and I really feel like we completely dominated that team from the very beginning," Shober said. "Even at halftime, it was 2-0 us and you could see Conrad Weiser sort of falling apart as a team, yelling at each other and getting very physical."
Griffith gave the Lady Barons a lead they never relinquished when she scored with 5:13 elapsed in the game on an early penalty corner opportunity.
"It was an opposite side corner from Brittiny Griffith which we knew even when we played Fleetwood (in the quarterfinals) would be a huge asset to our team," Shober said.
It was another huge asset to the team to hold onto that lead until scoring again later in the half.
"I think that was something we were looking for (to score early) — sometimes it would take us a long time to score and they would start to kinda lose hope almost," Shober said. "But scoring early was very good for them and also being to play defense well enough that we weren’t going to let a goal in within five minutes of scoring was huge to our defense and our team as a whole. That’s something we’ve struggled with all season."
They added another huge goal when Daniel connected, again on a penalty corner, to make the score 2-0 with only 4:55 left in the half.
"Brittiny and Paige are our top scorers this year and they continue to emphasize that statistic," Shober said.
Conrad Weiser cut the Lady Barons’ lead in half on a goal by junior Amanda Granger with just 33 seconds left in the second half, but they could get no closer. MC keeper Corissa Landis finished with four stops to record the win between the pipes.
Facing Susquenita less than 48 hours later on Saturday morninlg, the Blackhawks scored two goals within a span of less than two minutes late in the first half to take a lead they never lost.
It didn’t help that senior Katie Van Blargan was limited in that game due to an injury.
"Katie played maybe a minute of the entire game, so that defensively was an issue," Shober said.
After Susquenita took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Juliana Shuty with 10:24 gone, the Lady Barons answered, courtesy of Katelyn Grazan, less than three minutes later. But they were never able to take the lead, as Erin Danner and Vanessa Hoffman put Susquenita up 3-1 going into the halftime break.
For the game, both teams had 11 shots on goal and Manheim Central held a 13-4 edge in corners.
Susquenita added an insurance tally from Alex Schardt at 9:56 of the second and then Morgan Mummau connected with 1:03 remaining for Manheim Central to complete the scoring. Daniel added an assist for the Lady Barons.
Britt Morrison made nine saves in goal for Susquenita and Landis had seven stops for Manheim Central. More LADY BARONS, page B-4