By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP —
Line Mountain has not enjoyed the pleasure of playing in the state field hockey playoffs for a dozen years.
That changed with one quick stroke Sunday afternoon at the Zephyr Sports Complex on the campus of Whitehall H.S.
Freshman Chloe Poltonavage found Sarah Lahr right where she was supposed to be, and the senior forward drilled a shot for the match’s only score as the Lady Eagles blanked Moravian Academy, 1-0, in the Class AA play-in game.
The Eagles, who lost the District 4 championship game in overtime to eight-time defending champion Selinsgrove, earned a berth opposite Tri-Valley League rival Greenwood 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hershey H.S.
Greenwood defeated the Eagles twice during the regular season 3-0 and 2-1.
“We have not played in the state tournament for 12 years but I told our players at the break we needed to play with a sense of urgency in the second half,” Line Mountain third-year coach Jill Martz-Yisrael said. “I felt we upped our intensity level and believed that whoever scored first would gain a big advantage.”
The Eagles (17-5) went into the matchup knowing very little about the Colonial League champions, who lost to Southern Lehigh, 2-1, in the District 11 final.
“All I knew about them was what we got off the Internet,” Martz-Yisrael said. “They did not allow many goals so we figured they had a good girl in goal.
“The game plan was to play our game, and that meant playing possession hockey.”
In the opening half, Moravian’s Greta Helvie made two outstanding saves, one each against Madison Lagerman and Poltonavage.
Line Mountain’s Colleen Troutman came up with three saves as both teams combined for just six shots and five penalty corners resulting in a scoreless half.
After the break, Line Mountain began asserting its quickness and, on its second penalty corner of the half, the Eagles triggered a new corner play.
After getting the ball to the top of the circle, Poltonavage was able to find Lahr with a perfect pass to the far post. The Lady Lions (15-8) didn’t react in time, and the Eagles’ leading scorer upped her total to 22 goals by knocking the ball easily past Helvie with 26:43 left in the match.
“We practiced that corner formation for the first time Saturday and used it,” Martz-Yisrael said. “They didn’t expect the misdirection pass, and Chloe found Sarah right where she was supposed to be.”
The Eagles’ defense did a great job of holding the Lady Lions co-leading scorers Madi Sheetz and Katherine Kistler (10 goals apiece) scoreless, with just one shot on goal in the second half and three total.