The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

September 12, 2013

Scott Dudinskie's high school field hockey column: Losses don't cloud Greenwood's vision

Kent Houser has obviously been around the block a time or two in the high school coaching business.

He's a veteran of 50 seasons coaching hockey, boys basketball and softball at Greenwood since 1990.

So he's no doubt seen it all. Twice.

Last year Houser and his Wildcats, the Valley's best hockey team, endured a pair of the most gut-wrenching losses a side could endure. They were the kinds that would create nightmares for even the most seasoned of coaches.

If they kept him up nights, Houser isn't saying.

"We don't even talk about last year -- it's gone," he said during the preseason. "We're looking forward. Always."

We understand that philosophy, and we certainly respect it. But there's no way those losses were forgotten in the program.

They stung.

They left a mark.

Greenwood bulldozed its way to a 15-2-1 regular-season record, playing eventual Class AAA state champion Lower Dauphin to a scoreless tie along the way. The Wildcats won the first three games of districts with relative ease, earning a berth opposite Oley Valley in the championship game.

The game was scoreless when it went to strokes, and Oley ultimately won 2-1.

Greenwood rebounded with a win over Tri-Valley League rival Line Mountain in the first round of the state tournament, capping a three-game season sweep. The 'Cats blitzed Forbes Road in the quarterfinals, 6-1, to move go the semis.

There, on a crisp night in Berwick, they battled back from a Crestwood goal two minutes in and forged a 2-1 lead. The Comets scored to force overtime and won in the second extra period.

Four days later, Crestwood won the state crown.

"I thought both were very good games," said Houser. "Crestwood, in particular, was just a great field hockey game. We had chances and played our hearts out but just didn't come through.

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