Donegal tops MC 5-1 in State quarterfinals

By on November 15, 2017
Manheim Central senior Maddie Hosler gains the upper hand as Donegal’s Mackenzie Allessie falls to the turf in last Saturday’s gam Photo by Mike Shull

Manheim Central senior Maddie Hosler gains the upper hand as Donegal’s Mackenzie Allessie falls to the turf in last Saturday’s gam Photo by Mike Shull

Time was winding down on the Manheim Central field hockey team’s season.

And senior Maddie Hosler was determined to help deliver something positive for her team in the PIAA State Double-A quarterfinals.

Her goal with just 1:25 left did exactly that.

“I think we came out hard and finished the game hard and I wouldn’t want to change anything about it,” said Hosler, a Liberty University recruit.

Unfortunately for the Lady Barons, even with an inspired effort, their task was huge, facing a Donegal squad listed No. 3 in the U.S. in the MAX Field Hockey top-25 rankings.

In the end, the Lady Indians had too much firepower, getting four goals from Mackenzie Allessie and claiming a 5-1 victory over Manheim Central at Comet Field in Millersville last Saturday.

While defending State champ Donegal (25-1) advanced to Tuesday’s semi-finals to meet District Two champ Wyoming Valley West, Manheim Central ended its season with a 17-8 record.

“It was incredible, I am so proud of the girls,” MC coach Laura Gebhart said. “Even last year, we had a small squad. This year, a small squad, and they put the work in. We don’t have a deep bench, so every person on that team is important in some way. All of them gave 110 percent. It was not easy, they’re tired, and they showed up to play throughout the season. So a huge credit to them, I love them. They’re amazing.”

In two earlier meetings against Donegal, MC suffered a 9-0 loss on Sept. 15, then broke through in the scoring column in a 6-2 defeat on Oct. 3.

Part of Gebhart’s message to her players was, don’t be shocked to score against Donegal.

“(We wanted) that mentality of we are going in and we’re going to score,” Gebhart said. “If we score, OK, we did our job.”

The Lady Barons came within inches of scoring in the opening half, as the ball got behind Donegal keeper Katie Jean and was on the goal line before the Lady Indians cleared it out.

“We had opportunities,” Gebhart said. “I don’t know if it was a D-save or what, it was hard for us to see. But those are momentum shifts.”

Donegal, meanwhile, took a 2-0 lead in the game’s opening 8:43 on goals by Allessie.

“It’s her speed, her skillset over the ball (that makes Allessie special),” Gebhart said. “It’s phenomenal. You can’t take that away from her.”

With 9:52 left in the opening half, Manheim Central got its first penalty corner, and Hannah Barbush ripped a shot from the top of the circle, but Jean was equal to the challenge.

For the game, the quick-footed Lady Indians outshot MC 10-1 in the half — and 17-5 for the game — and Lady Baron goalie Mikayla Regan finished with 12 saves to help keep her team close.

“She played phenomenally,” Gebhart said. “She stepped out, she was aggressive. It was great. (Mikayla) really rose to the occasion today.”

Still leading by two as the clock ticked under 6:00 left in the half, Donegal got goals from Lily Saunders and Allessie just :21 apart to make it 4-0 at the break.

Allessie’s fourth goal with 1:25 gone in the second put Donegal up 5-0, and it stayed that way until, with less than 3:00 remaining, the Lady Barons picked up back-to-back corners. Hosler then re-directed a blast by Codi Bollinger into the net behind Jean to get Manheim Central on the scoreboard.

“I was trying to block (Jean’s) view and just get a final tap on it to make sure that it was going in,” Hosler recalled. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get that good feeling in for this game.”

For the game, Donegal held a 15-3 edge in penalty corners, including one in the final minute.

Ultimately, although the outcome wasn’t one Manheim Central wanted last Saturday, Hosler was able to look at the big picture afterward.

“It was an unforgettable senior season,” she said. “I’m so happy with how this year went.”

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