Just 13 minutes into its PIAA Class AA state field hockey tournament opener Tuesday evening, West Chester East trailed District 11 champion Southern Lehigh 2-0 at Parkland High School.
But the resilient Vikings (14-9), the fourth seed from District 1, battled back. East’s Valerie Say and Lauren Fredericks each scored a goal to tie the score 2-2 at halftime, then the Vikings’ Kelly Conlon scored twice in the second half to bring home a 4-3 victory in a Class 2A opener.
“I am very proud of our team for battling back the way they did,” said East head coach Taylor Shronk. “Southern Lehigh is a well-coached, well-skilled team, and they played very aggressively and put immediate pressure on the ball. For us, it was a huge team effort tonight by each girl on the field, a great game of field hockey by both teams, and the atmosphere tonight was definitely intense [on both sides].
“This was a team effort from the back line to the midfield to the forward line. [Center mid] Nicole Fredericks did a great job feeding the ball and transferring it. [Defender] Amilia Andraos did a great job on defense clearing out wide.”
Early in the second half, West Chester East came out strong to gain a two-goal lead with nine minutes remaining. Southern Lehigh scored their third goal three minutes later.
“Our girls played very poised and maintained control to finish out the game,” said Shronk. “The coaching staff is very proud of the effort and hard work that all of our girls have put in this season in order to make it this far.”
West Chester East advances to the second round Saturday to play the winner of Tuesday night’s Twin Valley-Crestwood matchup.
In other Chesco high school PIAA state field hockey tournament action Tuesday:
Unionville 5, State College 0 >> Unionville (20-2), the third-place finisher in District 1, shut out District 6 champion State College in the first round in Class 3A.
For the Indians, key contributors included Katie Anderson (two goals, two assists), Annie McDonough (two goals), Claire Donovan (one goal, one assist), Madison Miles (two assists) and goalie Lizzie Gaebel (two saves).
Unionville head coach Erin Curtis said, “Once we settled into the game, we were able to keep possession. We had a strong defensive effort, several successful corners, and we finished well.”
Villa Maria Academy 3, Wyoming Valley West 2 >> The Hurricanes (19-2), the No. 3 seed out of District 1 in Class 2A, edged District Two champion Wyoming Valley West, 3-2, in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA state tournament.
Emily Doyle’s unassisted goal gave Villa Maria a 1-0 halftime lead, then teammates Mary Harkins and Hannah Miller scored in the second half. Lindsay Dickinson dished out an assist for the winners, and Villa goalie Danielle Acuna recorded seven saves.
“I thought our whole team did very well tonight,” said Villa Maria head coach Daan Polders. “Emily Doyle had some dynamic runs, and really made it difficult for [Wyoming Valley]. We’re looking forward to the second round.”
Donegal 4, West Chester Henderson 1 >> West Chester Henderson, the fifth seed from District 1, lost to the District 3 champion in 2A action at Penn Manor.
Henderson (18-5) kept the score close through the first half, trailing 1-0 at halftime. But in the second half, Donegal pulled away for the win. Kasey Collins scored for Henderson in the second half, with an assist from Isabel Harkins. Henderson goalie Emily Franco recorded eight saves.
It was a physical game, with eight cards issued, two to the Donegal coach.
“Our kids played their hearts out, left it all on the field,” said Henderson head coach Jen O’Donnell. “We had a good first half, kept it close, but we just couldn’t maintain it in the second half.”