The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 28, 2012

District 4 field hockey: Seals make a memory

Seven-time champs win semi in overtime


Daily Item

---- — By Scott Dudinskie

The Daily Item

BLOOMSBURG -- Jenna Kapsar said it was all a blur, but when she tried to recall her game-winning goal in Saturday's district semifinals the details came back in vivid clarity.

A play so significant will no doubt be imprinted on her brain and those of the Selinsgrove players and fans for a long, long time.

The senior mid took a pinpoint pass from MacKenna Mahan and slipped a point-blank shot into the cage three minutes into overtime, giving the Seals a 1-0 win over Bloomsburg and a chance at their eighth consecutive title.

"I hoped it would go in the goal and it did," said Kapsar, who ended more than an hour of riveting hockey and was immediately swarmed by her teammates in the circle.

The fifth-seeded Seals (14-4-2) play No. 2 Line Mountain, a 2-0 winner over third-seeded Mifflinburg, in the District 4 Class AA final 5 p.m. Tuesday at Bucknell University. The make-up date, given the week's ominous weather forecast, is Thursday.

Top-seeded Bloomsburg, which was beaten by Selinsgrove in last year's title game, finished 18-2.

"I thought we'd get a good chance (in overtime)," said Panthers coach Chuck Baker, whose team hadn't played 7v7 in two years. "They're a great team, but it's not always the best team that (decides) 7-on-7, it's the team that makes the first mistake. We made one and they were there to capitalize."

The Seals struck on their first chance in OT. Geneka Mahan, who was distraught when lost to a yellow card midway through the second half, pushed the ball up the left side and crossed it to sister MacKenna on the far right of the circle. MacKenna Mahan's centering pass was on Kaspar's stick, though it put her back to the cage. She spun and swept it in past Panthers keeper Michelle Smith and back Kristina Kurelja, who had two huge defensive saves, taking the ball right off the line, in the second half.

"I called for the ball and caught it on my reverse," said Kapsar. "I saw out of the corner of my eye (Smith's) legs were open so I shot for the five-hole. I saw it trickle past (Kurelja), too."

"That was work," Seals coach Cathy Keiser said of the game. "They're a great team. Really -- a great team."

Bloomsburg, above all, was made-for-turf fast. Their forward line speed, bolstered by track sprinters, could turn any big ball into a bigger problem for a defense.

So Selinsgrove made a point of cutting off the area outside its attacking zone, not allowing the Panthers many breakaway opportunities.

"We were just trying to have a strong support because they have great foot-speed, they're quick, and when they get down on offense they can put it in the cage," said Keiser. "I think we got into their game plan, messed it up a bit."

"Their defense stepped right up and was on top of my forwards the whole time," said Baker. "I think that was a big part of it."

Bloomsburg's speed still frustrated the Seals, though. Selinsgrove earned 15 corners -- seven in the final 8:30 of regulation -- and few resulted in a good look, never mind a shot. The Panthers Britni Phillips single-handedly busted the vast majority of them.

"It was really frustrating," said Kapsar. "We'd receive the ball but couldn't get anything off. She was an awesome flyer."

"When you have Phillips in there, and she can get out as quick as she can, it makes it tough for anybody," said Baker. "Even if you settle it, she's right there on top of you to wreak havoc."

In the minutes after Geneka Mahan took a yellow, the Seals had two big chances. MacKenna Mahan deked two defenders to get into the circle for a shot Smith saved. Jenna Knepp ripped a tracer that Kurelja had to stop.

Selinsgrove kept up the pressure with a string of corners, but needed Kapsar's memory-maker to advance.

"We prepared really hard for this game because we didn't want our season to end," said Kapsar. "We wanted to go out and play hard from the start, and we did."

n Line Mountain 2, Mifflinburg 0

BLOOMSBURG -- Olivia Kleman and Allison Wolfe scored goals to lift Line Mountain into the District 4 Class AA championship game with a win Saturday at Bloomsburg University.

The second-seeded Eagles (15-4) edged No. 3 Mifflinburg in both shots on goal (7-5) and penalty corners (9-8). The Wildcats couldn't dent the cage against Colleen Troutman, the Eagles keeper.

Line Mountain plays seven-time defending champion Selinsgrove on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Bucknell University.

The Wildcats, who won their first Heartland-I championship, finished 14-5.