LOWER GWYNEDD >> Her third goal in a spectacular performance, Jill Bolton scored with 10 minutes, 55 seconds left on Tuesday night to give the Christopher Dock field hockey team a 3-2 lead over Merion Mercy.
But the Golden Bears rallied, scoring twice in the final 8:02, to earn a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Pioneers in a District One Class AA Semifinal at Wissahickon High School.
Dock, which had leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 off the stick of Bolton, saw a tremendous season come to an end, just one win from states.
“They pass very well, better than any teams that we saw all season,” Bolton said of the Golden Bears, which edged Dock in the district semis for the second straight year. “It took us a little bit of time in the first half, but we adjusted to it, and our timeouts helped us get situated. They’re a really skilled team.”
Cammy Toddy scored off a rebound with 4:31 to play, giving the third-seeded Golden Bears their first lead of the game, on a crisp evening on the turf at Wiss.
Dock put on pressure in the final minutes but Merion was able to affectively clear it out, advancing to a district title showdown Saturday with Villa Maria, a 7-2 winner over GMA.
“This is huge for Merion. I am so proud of my girls,” Golden Bears coach Morgan Hudson said. “Losing nine seniors from last year, as a new coach, I didn’t know how it would shape up this season. I am so enthused about how they played today, playing with a top-notch team in the state.
“I think what really helped us tonight was our passing game, and I think that we just have some great depth and talent.”
Caroline Steller scored a hat trick for Merion, tying the game on three separate occasions. She tipped in a shot by Allie Scannapieco to even the game at three apiece.
Then, with 4:31 to go, Steller had a shot that Dock keeper Meghan MacIntyre was able to save, but Toddy followed up with the rebound to put Merion in front.
Early on, Bolton, a junior, scored less than five minutes into the contest to put the Pioneers in front, and after a goal by Steller off a penalty stroke, Bolton scored again with 6:13 to go in the half, giving Dock a 2-1 lead at the break.
“Jill had an outstanding game. Phenomenal,” Pioneers coach Michelle Waldspurger said.
Steller again tied it up, 2-2, a little over five minutes into the second half, following up her own initial shot, and then with 10:55 to go, Bolton fired one into the far corner, pushing second-seeded Dock ahead, 3-2.
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