DERRY >> In the state playoffs, the Mount St. Joseph Academy field hockey team put out the same lineup that it had opening day — the lineup that led it to a 17-5 record and a third place finish in District 1.
That lineup dominated play in the second half Tuesday evening, but couldn’t find the back of the cage.
The Magic lost, 1-0, to (3-2) Palmyra in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A state playoffs at Henry Hershey Field on the campus on Milton Hershey School.
“I think they gave it 110 percent,” Mount coach Sue Wentzel said, “especially in the second half. I wish we would have had that same pressure in the first half because I feel that’s where the time just escaped us. In the second half we just couldn’t get that finishing touch. I think they came here strong and we’re leaving strong, too.”
The game-deciding goal came midway through the second half. The Cougars earned their seventh (of 11) penalty corner. After the initial play was stopped, the District 3 runner-up s kept the ball in the circle and Skylar Dise found Mya Julian for the score.
“They were strong at covering gaps in goal and I think that was just a great shot from that side,” Wentzel said. “I don’t know if maybe we thought it wasn’t going to go in. That’s a hard goal to make. Sometimes you just get lucky as a shooter and you get it from that angle.”
The Magic’s best chances came right after halftime. In the first three minutes of the second half, they deflected one ball into the side of the cage and another shot that beat Palmyra’s goalie but was just a bit too wide of the far post.
They did score once when the game was scoreless, but it was disallowed for using the wrong part of the stick.
Throughout the entire second half the Mount’s Julianna Kratz, Elizabeth Maransky and Megan Maransky got the ball inside the offensive circle and created opportunities.
Once trailing, MSJ had a few more chances. The Magic couldn’t get a shot on net from a corner and they had another clean look from 10 yards away that went wide of the cage.
The defensive play of the day came from Rory Williamson. With the teams locked in a scoreless tie early in the second half, Palmyra earned a corner and the shot beat the Mount’s goalie. Williamson was there to stop the ball, clear it away from trouble and keep the Cougars off the board.
The Mount started slow in the first half. They didn’t put a shot on net in the opening 30 minutes and allowed five penalty corners to just one for themselves.
The loss brings an end to the Magic’s season.
“They’re a great group of kids,” Wentzel said. “I have a lot of kids coming back and I do think they left this game at least with our heads held high and they played strong. So I can’t be happier for them. They’re going to be strong going forward.”
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