The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

September 24, 2012

H.S. field hockey: Seals rally to topple Eagles

MANDATA — If there were any concerns when Selinsgrove was sporting a 1-3-1 record following a brutal early season schedule you would never guess it from the demeanor of head coach Cathy Keiser.

This, despite heavy graduation losses and the sudden decision by keeper-in-waiting Kelsey Ulrich to concentrate on cross country, which put pressure on sophomore newcomer Courtney McCartney.

The Seals gained valuable experience against the likes of Wyoming Valley West, Crestwood and Greenwood and extended their winning streak Monday with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Tri-Valley League stalwart Line Mountain in non-league field hockey action.

“There’s a reason for playing the tough non-league schedule, especially when you are starting off with a young group of players,” Keiser said. “It certainly toughens you up and as a coach you get to see where you are at this point and where you need to get.”

Selinsgrove dominated the action for nearly five minutes to open the matchup but were unable to get the ball past keeper Colleen Troutman.

The Eagles (9-2) broke loose on their first offensive sequence and grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Sarah Lahr slapped a shot past McCartney with 24:53 on the clock . The goal stunned the Seals, who were caught on their heels a bit.

“We had spent so much time on offense we didn’t make our transition quickly enough on defense,” Keiser said. “Our players were working hard to get the ball to our forwards, and give credit to Line Mountain. They kept us from scoring.”

The Seals didn’t fold despite falling behind. Instead they continued to pressure Line Mountain until Lexi Horst took a pass from Jenna Kapsar and rifled the shot into the left corner of the cage for the tying goal at the 15:11 mark. The tie stood for eight minutes until MacKenna Mahan was able to knock in a loose ball following a scramble in front of the cage and provided the visitors with the go-ahead tally with 7:48 remaining in the half.

“This was one of our more challenging games and we worked hard in getting the ball in the circle to our forwards,” Line Mountain coach Jill Martz-Yisrael said. “I thought we did a good job of pressuring their keeper but couldn’t put the ball in the cage.”

The teams played more in the middle of the field during the second half, but the Eagles were able to pressure the Seals defense, coming up with four shots on McCartney. Selinsgrove’s young keeper and the defenders did a good job clearing the ball from the circle.

“The first half was fun because we both were going up and down the field,” Keiser said, “while the second half was more in the midfield.”

The Seals (7-3-1) have won five consecutive games, allowing just one goal (Lahr’s on Monday) during that span.

Line Mountain won on the stat sheet with an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-3 edge in penalty corners.

“I thought we played better in the second half and did a better job of pressuring and getting to the ball,” Martz-Yisrael said. “We did a better job passing the ball and connecting. I thought we were able to get off shots but could not score and give credit to Selinsgrove for the way they played.

“What we need to do is put together two solid halves and get the ball more in the circle to our forwards and score.”

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