Dock Mennonite Academy (1-3) faces a tough task in its PIAA Class A state playoff opener Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Exeter Township High School. The Pioneers match up with Oley Valley (3-1).
Oley Valley won the District 3 Class A championship and is 23-0 this season with a full roster returning from last year.
“There’s no question we’re the underdog,” Dock coach Michelle Waldspurger said. “We’re just going to do the best we can with what the situation is.”
The Bicentennial Athletic League Independence champion Pioneers will be relying on its three senior captains to try to pull off the upset.
“I have three senior captains,” Waldspurger said. “They’ve been the core of the team. They’re pretty level-headed. They play a lot of hockey. They’re looking forward to this opportunity. They have led all year and I think they will continue to lead here.”
Senior Jill Bolton has 100 goals in her career and scored 33 this year alone.
Senior defender Emme Raieta will make her return after suffering an injury to ligaments in her ankle earlier this season.
The third senior captain is goalkeeper Liz Wanamaker, who will need to have a big game in the cage to keep the Oley Valley offense off the board.
Other keys to the game for the Pioneers — who are making their first state playoff appearance since 2008 — will be executing corners and connecting on passes.
“Work together,” Waldspurger said the team needs to do. “We’re trying to really work as one unit. Communication on the field will be big and our passing game to really connect strong passes down the field will be important.”
The winner of this game will face the winner of Line Mountain (4-1) and Newport (3-5) in the second round Saturday.
Gwynedd Mercy Academy (1-1) matches up with Greenwood (3-3) in the first round of the PIAA Class A state playoffs Tuesday at Methacton High School at 6 p.m.
The District 1 champion Monarchs enter the state playoffs on a roll. They won all three of their district playoff games handily — a 9-0 win over Jenkintown, 4-1 win over Dock and 3-0 win in the championship game over New Hope.
The winner of this game will face the winner of Moravian Academy (11-1) and Bloomsburg (4-2) in the second round Saturday.
Mount Saint Joseph Academy (1-2) faces Lampeter Strasburg (3-5) in the first round of the PIAA Class AA state playoffs Tuesday at Methacton High School at 4 p.m.
The Mount finished third in the Catholic Academy League this year and the tough schedule of facing teams like Villa Maria, Gwynedd Mercy and Merion Mercy could pay big dividends now that the state playoffs are starting.
“(Lampeter) is in the mix with Donegal — who’s that powerhouse in District 3,” Mount coach Tina Reinprecht said of her opponent. “Them playing a team like Donegal or Twin Valley in their district area is kind of like what we have — the benefit of playing in the Catholic Academy League… You’ve seen a lot of fire power, you’ve seen a lot of defensive strength, great goal-keeping. So in term of the actual hockey, I don’t know if (Lampeter) is going to show us anything more or different than what we’ve already seen playing those other quality teams in our league. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of the moment and playing 110 percent, 100 percent of the time.
“Good possession, building our attack,” Reinprecht pointed to as keys for the game. “We have long ball capability, but really building a consistent attack through the midfield and maintaining possession is going to be the key for us so that we can present more numbers up and can take advantage of it when we have a fast break… Hopefully that will result in more scoring for us as well.”
This will be the first time the Magic play in the state playoffs since Reinprecht took over three years ago.
“I know they’re excited,” she said. “They were equally excited for Saturday (District 1 final). I know they’re excited and we talked a lot about the moment (Sunday) and reflecting on the moment on Saturday. It’s gravy at this point. It’s a great learning experience. There’s nothing to lose, just go out and play. This was a goal of their’s to make states. They reached this goal and just go play hockey. Win, lose or draw, leave it all on the field. I think they will.”
The winner of this game will face the winner of Donegal (3-1) and WC Henderson (1-5) in the second round Saturday.
Central Bucks West (1-2) takes on Stroudsburg (11-2) in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs Tuesday at Quakertown High School at 6 p.m.
West finished this season second in the Suburban One League Continental Conference with a 9-2-1 league record and 17-4-1 overall mark.
The Bucks made it all the way to the District 1 championship game — winning both their quarterfinal and semifinal games in overtime — before losing to Conestoga, 5-2.
CB West will look to improve on its season last year where it lost in the first round of the state playoffs. If it does beat Stroudsburg, it will face the winner of Fox Chapel (7-1) and Lower Dauphin (3-3) Saturday.
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