EXETER >> As the Perkiomen Valley field hockey team broke huddle one final time on Saturday afternoon, there wasn’t a single tear shed.
There were no temper tantrums along the sideline.
And certainly no hard feelings.
The Vikings walked away smiling after a 5-1 loss against Wilson during the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs at Exeter High School.
“I think everyone knew that this game showed how far we’ve come as a program,” said Bryn Marcavage, one of just two seniors on the Perk Valley roster. “We came here and played our hardest against a really, really good team and they got the win.
“At the end of the day, we feel really accomplished to know that we finished in the top eight teams in the state.”
Perkiomen Valley’s season comes to a close at 23-3 overall amid their deepest run in the state playoffs since 1997. Wilson (22-3) will advance to face Lower Dauphin — a 3-0 winner over Methacton — next Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
The scouting report on Wilson was simple — they’re loaded. With talented skill players in the midfield and a goalkeeper headed for Division I college and perhaps beyond, Perk Valley head coach Erik Enters knew Saturday would be among the toughest challenges his team would face all year.
“We were up against one of the best goalkeepers in the state,” said Enters in reference to Wilson keeper Brynn Underwood. “She’s committed to American (University), she’s in the Team USA pipeline. Overall, Wilson is a very good team with a lot of talent on the field. So we knew today was going to be a real challenge.”
Wilson proved to be a challenge from the game’s opening whistle. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead within the first 12 minutes of regulation and had the game under control from there.
Kylie Hoffman opened up the scoring when she finished a feed from Regan Underwood seven minutes into regulation. Then a few minutes later, Morgan Kauffman finished a pass from Madison Herb just 76 seconds before Emily Horace capped a corner try to give the Bulldogs a three-goal advantage.
Late in the half, the Vikings were in need of something, anything to write home about.
Then, with just over seven minutes left before half, they got just what they needed.
Making a push in front of Brynn Underwood in the Wilson cage, sophomore Saige Shine sent an aerial into the right side of the circle. From there, junior Bella Ricci turned her stick sideways and pushed it into the back of the net for the Vikings’ lone score of the game.
“Our goal against them was beautiful, that was like a slam dunk,” said Enters with a laugh. “I really liked that. We needed to get something on the board there.”
Wilson was quick to respond, though, when Sarah Gatehouse scored off a feed from Horace to give Wilson a 4-1 advantage. That score held up until late in the second half when Regan Underwood reared back from the top of the circle and blasted one through the Perk Valley defense into the back of the cage to make it 5-1.
For the game, Wilson held a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal and had a 14-7 advantage in penalty corners.
“It’s hard to see this season come to an end, but we’re proud of the way we got here,” said Marcavage.
Just a few months ago, Marcavage and fellow senior Gabby Martina addressed their teammates for the first time as the senior captains. Now, all they can hope for is that their younger teammates can pick it up right where the pair left it.
“They definitely have a bright future,” Marcavage said, “lots of strong players, individually and as a team. They’re gonna step it up next year for sure. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next season.”
“We had so much growth this season, especially as a young team,” added Enters. “We expect to be back here next season, hopefully with some titles, too.”
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