Hempfield shuts out MC 1-0 in L-L semi-finals

By on October 15, 2014

Manheim Central field hockey coach Lisa McCoy gave credit where credit was due.

Facing pesky defensive pressure from Section One runner-up Hempfield, the MC girls mustered only four shots at Lady Knight keeper Hollyn Barr.

Hempfield didn’t exactly get a lot of chances either, but they capitalized on a goal from junior forward Kyra Brakefield with 7:06 left in the first to pull out a 1-0 win in the L-L League playoff semi-finals on Tuesday night in Millersville.

The victory sends the Lady Knights (15-5) to Thursday’s finals against Penn Manor (17-3), a 2-0 winner over Warwick in the other semi-final contest.

“(Hempfield) had some great defense,” McCoy said. “I think to some extent we probably haven’t hit that same kind of pressure. I think we just came up against that pressure and then had to regroup a little bit and we just didn’t regroup in time.”

Early jitters might have played a part for these Lady Baron (17-3) players, who were new to playing in the L-L semi-finals. It was evident in the early going, as the Hempfield girls generated the game’s first four corners, and a defensive save from Central’s Kirsten Myer kept it scoreless.

“It’s the first time we’ve been in this position and the first 10 minutes of the game, you tell we had some nerves,” McCoy acknowledged.

Central got back-to-back corners with just over 12 minutes left in the half, but couldn’t finish. Not long afterward, the Lady Knights countered with freshman Rachel Gantz carrying the ball down the left side on an odd-man rush. She centered the ball to Brakefield, who deposited it into the back of the cage behind MC keeper Emma Beamesderfer (4 saves) for a 1-0 Hempfield lead with 22:54 elapsed. It was one of only six shots for Hempfield.

“They had some well-positioned people in the circle and they were definitely numbers up on us and they popped it in,” McCoy said. “It was a nice goal. They pulled our goalie (right) and then put the ball back in the other corner.”

Both teams had 10 penalty corners in the game, and Central had four straight over a four-minute stretch in the second half, but to no avail. On their final corner opportunity with roughly 3:00 left, junior Jillian Wolgemuth dribbled deep into the circle and got a shot away which appeared to squirt between Barr’s pads, but the Lady Knights got a clutch defensive save behind her to keep MC off the scoreboard.

“The whole second half, I felt like we played pretty well. We had some opportunities, we just didn’t connect on them,” McCoy commented. “That’s the name of the game.”

The Section Two champion Lady Barons will look to connect in the District Three Double-A Championships which get underway next week. The Lady Barons are currently the No. 1 ranked team in the latest District power ratings.

They will no doubt be looking forward to putting Tuesday’s loss behind them.

“Definitely disappointed,” McCoy said of her players’ emotions. “But we’ve got to shake this off because we’ve got the District Three Tournament. We’re going in, so far, as the No. 1 seed if that doesn’t change until next week. And we’ve got a lot of hockey to play yet. I’m confident that we’ll rebound and come back out there strong.”

Last Saturday in the L-L quarterfinals, Morgan Wagner’s goal with 22:49 elapsed in the first half was the difference in the Lady Barons’ 1-0 shutout of Lancaster Mennonite.

The Lady Blazers had a 6-4 advantage in corners, but couldn’t put the ball behind Beamesderfer, who finished with three saves. The Central girls outshot LMH 5-3 in the low-scoring battle.

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