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Neshaminy field hockey nips Council Rock South on late goal by Anna Skrot

Council Rock South attackers MiKayla VanAken, right, and Katelyn Cocco push the ball up the field defended by Jamie Pennington, for Neshaminy.
(Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

NEWTOWN – Facing Suburban One National League (SONL) rival Council Rock South Tuesday night, Oct. 17 at Walt Snyder Stadium, Neshaminy had plenty of chances to score.

Awarded eight penalty corners in the first 30 minutes, the Lady Skins had more than enough.

Ironically, Neshaminy (12-6, 10-2) used one of three corner opportunities – the 10th of 11 in the contest – it earned after the break to tally the game’s only goal in a 1-0 triumph over the Golden Hawks (9-8, 7-5) on Pink Out Night in Newtown.

With 7:06 remaining in regulation, Skins senior forward Anna Skrot finally banged a Peyton Ritchey rebound home, earning Neshaminy its 10th league win of the season.

“Playing South is always a good game; they’re going to come out hard and we’re going to come out hard too,” said Lady Skins head coach Jamie Pinto. “We had opportunities in the first half; we just couldn’t finish. But our girls never let down. They kept working together as a team to pull this one out.”

In the first half, Neshaminy kept CR South hemmed in their own end, outshooting the Hawks 3-0 in the first 30 minutes.

“We came out slow and I think we didn’t come out intense enough,” said CR South head coach Lisa Belz. “We talked about it at halftime, making sure we had a better 30 minutes.

“Unfortunately, we turned it on too late and we weren’t able to answer back when they scored in the last seven minutes.”

In the first 30, the Skins put a ton of pressure on the Hawks cage and just could not come up with a goal.

An apparent goal registered by Kayla Connelly on a penalty corner with 17:44 remaining in the first half was waved off as the shot came from outside the circle. Connelly had a few other chances to score in the initial period including a shot she launched from eight yards out that went just a little too left. And her shot on a corner-op with 1:30 remaining in the half was blocked by CR South midfielder MiKayla VanAken.

“It was insane; I knew we had to win it – not for the title or anything like that but for ourselves,” said Neshaminy senior back Kelly Bara.

The Skins started the season slow, suffering losses to CB East, Great Valley and Gwynedd Mercy. A 3-1 loss to eventual SONL champion Pennsbury dropped Neshaminy to 3-2 in its first five games.

“We started off a little rough in the beginning,” added Bara. “As the season went on, we really came together – during practices and on and off the field.

“It’s just nice to see it pay off. All of us work hard, together.”

In this game, it was Council Rock South rebounding from its slow start in the first 30 minutes to apply a significant amount of pressure after the intermission.

Less than two minutes into the second half, the Hawks earned a corner and from there, Tori Wright got off a good shot that was blocked by the defense. A few minutes later, South midfielder Bridget Doherty launched a crossing pass that Carissa Longmore tried to finish.

Ten minutes after the break, it was Katelyn Cocco bouncing a ball in high on Skins goalkeeper Maddie Tieman, though the netminder proved equal on the attempt. And an ensuing shot by Cocco was stopped by Neshaminy’s Tori Young.

Awarded just their second of three penalty corners in the second half, the Skins finally came through. Jamie Pennington inserted the ball to Connelly, who dished it off to Ritchey. A scrum ensued in front of the cage before Scrot banged the ball into the back.

“We really stepped up in this game,” said Bara. “We keep playing; we don’t stop until we score. And even after, we keep playing.”

Try as they might, the Hawks could not come up with the equalizer, though they came close.

On the first of three straight penalty corners for South, Longmore had a chance to tip Wright’s shot into the back of the cage with under six minutes remaining in regulation. The window closed too quickly however as Tieman dove to the right and came up with a game-saver.

With 4:30 remaining, Doherty had a chance at a tip on the left side and her shot went just wide, preserving the 1-0 Neshaminy lead.

At the 1:30 mark, the Skins earned their last corner op as they looked to pad their margin. Cocco had other designs on the ball, however, as she intercepted and turned the tide back the other way.

Coming up with defensive stops for Neshaminy in the final minute were Abby Geisler, Sophie Schardt, Asia Barnard and Bara. Offensively, Geisler and Ritchey are the goals leaders for the Skins, each with 15 tallies.

“Our midfielders have been doing a good job feeding them the ball all season,” stated Pinto. “We’ve really been working together as a team. Today, I think our defense really stepped up and played well.”

Goalkeepers Aspen Handel, a junior for the Golden Hawks, and Tieman, a sophomore for the Skins, were strong in the cage for their respective teams.

“We played hard the last 30 minutes and extra hard in the final seven minutes,” said Belz. “But I think if we came out that intense in the beginning, it could have been a different turnout.

“Neshaminy is a good team – they came out stronger and I think they wanted it more today.”

Coming off a big win over Mount Saint Joseph, Neshaminy finishes the season at 12-6, 10-2 and in second place in the SONL. CR South has a game remaining Wednesday (Oct. 18) at home against SOL Continental Conference rival Pennridge, which is ranked 27th in the District 1 Class AAA standings and sixth place at 2-10 in their division.

Including this game, the Hawks are 2-2 in their previous four pairings including wins over Bensalem and Wissahickon and losses to Pennnsbury and Neshaminy.

The District 1-AAA Tournament begins Monday, Oct. 23. Both CR South and Neshaminy will take part in the postseason.

Neshaminy 1, Council Rock South 0
(Oct. 17 at CR North)
NESHAMINY      (12-6, 10-2) 0 1 – 1
CR SOUTH           (9-8, 7-5) 0 0 – 0
GOALS: N — Anna Skrot, from Peyton Ritchie, 52:49; CRS — none.
PENALTY CORNERS: N — 11; CRS — 8.
SHOTS ON GOAL: N — 6; CRS — 4.

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