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Perkiomen Valley picks up first district win since ’14, downs Spring-Ford 4-2

LINFIELD >> During the regular season, the Perkiomen Valley field hockey team broke down its 18-game schedule into three increments of six games.

As the season has gone on, the Vikings have consistently gotten better with each wave of games.

“They always look at the season in thirds,” said head coach Erik Enters. “We were 3-3 to start the season, 4-2, then 5-1 over our last six games. So now their mindset is kind of ‘Why can’t we go 6-0 and win it all?’ I love that mindset.”

Perk Valley got started on the right foot Monday afternoon with a 4-2 win against all-too familiar Pioneer Athletic Conference foe Spring-Ford during the opening round of the District One Class AAA playoffs at the Training Center.

With the win, their first win in districts since the 2014 season, the No. 12-seeded Vikings (13-6 overall) travel to No. 5 Central Bucks East on Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. start. Spring-Ford, meanwhile, ends its season at 7-12 overall.

Perkiomen Valley’s Kelly Baitinger lifts her foot as the ball comes deep into the circle as Spring-Ford defenders surround goalkeeper Ashley Della Guardia. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“That’s given us the chance to have a fresh start every couple weeks,” said sophomore midfielder Danielle Hamm of the Vikings’ six-game mentality. “We’re not focused on the mistakes we made in games earlier in the season.”

It showed Monday.

Hamm and the Vikings jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead through the game’s first 44 minutes. Hamm scored the Vikings’ final two goals — including a rocket off an insert from her older sister Taylor Hamm, to give PV a four-goal lead with 16 minutes remaining in regulation.

“I just saw the fly (defenders) came out of the goal slow,” recalled Danielle Hamm of her goal. “So I was hoping it would either go in net or someone would tip it on post.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Danielle Hamm rockets a shot past the defense of Spring-Ford’s Clare Kennedy for a goal in the second half. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Ashley Elvidge scored the game’s opening goal 12 minutes in on a feed from Cristina Dougherty, who then turned around five minutes later and scored on a frenzy in front of the cage to give PV a 2-0 lead heading into the break. Taylor Hamm finished with a pair of assists for the game, Teresa Bartkowski added an assist and Hannah Roerden came away with three saves in the cage.

“I really felt like we should have been up more after the first half,” said Enters. “There were so many chances early on, but their goalie did a nice job early on. Their defense — Katelyn Crist and No. 7 (Erin Wilson) — they played really well and made it tough for our offense.”

With about 10 minutes remaining on their season, Spring-Ford seemed to finally get things going on the offensive end.

Senior Clare Kennedy scored an unassisted goal with 8:02 left. Then, less than two minutes later, Crist capped a corner try with a dart into the cage to make it 4-2.

Spring-Ford tries to get the ball upfield but the pass is deflected by the stick of Perkiomen Valley’s Gabby Martina. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“We started to come together a little bit in the second half, and then really turned it on toward the end,” said Spring-Ford head coach Jennie Anderson. “Unfortunately, it was a little bit too late. I’ve got to give PV credit though, they capitalized when they could … and we couldn’t.”

The Rams were held to just one shot on goal and one corner during the first half, giving the Vikings an early advantage that ultimately proved the difference.

Kristen Grebe and Ashley Della Guardia combined for a six-save effort in the cage for Spring-Ford.

Looking at it in the Vikings’ six-game approach, a run of 6-0 would give them the district title and a win in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs. Right now, though, the focus is on Wednesday against C.B. East.

“It’ll be a tall order Wednesday,” said Enters. “We’ve just got to play the way we’ve been playing the past couple of weeks.”

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