Hatboro-Horsham shuts out Souderton

HORSHAM — There’s a reason a field hockey field is as expansive as it is.

But using the entirety of said field isn’t a guarantee. When a team does figure it out however, good things tend to happen.

It’s taken a few weeks, but Hatboro-Horsham is starting to use the entire field. Tuesday, it took full advantage in a 2-0 win over visiting Souderton.

“At the beginning of the season we weren’t doing that as much,’ Hatters coach Laura Swezey said. “We were doing well, but we were just missing with getting the ball up the field as much as we wanted and finding the openings. That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do more often.’

For its part, Souderton started off well, but seemed to lose some of its drive as the game wore on. The result was an unhealthy number of shots directed at goalie Shelby Landes, who proved nearly unbeatable. Landes finished with 24 saves and denied 15 Hatter corners from going in.

“We spent way too much time in our defensive zone,’ Indians coach Lauren Whiteside said. “We gave up way too many back-to-back corners, our defense was trying to get it out but we need to be more feisty and more aggressive.’

While the Hatters had a hard time beating Landes, they also had a rough day dealing with the actual frame of the goalcage. At least five Hatboro-Horsham shots rang off Souderton’s post, including an early first-half try by senior midfielder Casey Swezey.

Hatboro-Horsham dictated the early flow, but Souderton started to establish itself on offense roughly 14 minutes into the opening period. After the Hatters called a timeout with 17:22 left, it was the visitors that came out firing.

Tara Maloney had two shots saved 1:40 apart and Keely Jennings forced Hatters goalie Emily Braunewll into action with 13:06 left in the frame.

“For the first 26 minutes we really did play a solid game,’ Whiteside said. “We were on our toes, we were wanting the ball a little bit more. But come the end of the half and into the second half, we stood back and let them attack.’

Three Souderton corners from 8:16 to 6:04 wrapped around a pair of shots by Gabby Sedares that marked the end of the Red run. Hatboro-Horsham got itself back in gear with Gabby Acker having a shot parried away then a double effort by Kelsey Thompson blocked both times.

Thompson stuck with it, collecting the rebound off her second shot and finding senior Jamie DiQuattro, who knocked the ball in with 2:39 left in the half.

“Souderton always has a good team but I thought our quickness and movement on the field, we were supporting each other and we did control (the game),’ Swezey said. “We had so many shots on goal, we hit the post at least five times. Their goalie did a nice job, for the amount of shots we had, she played a really nice game.’

Landes stopped three more shots before the half to send her team into the break down, but very much still in the game.

A brief spurt out of the break by Souderton didn’t lead to anything and the Hatters simply took over. From the 27:00 mark, a shot by DiQuattro through the end of the game, the Hatters had eight corners and 13 shots to two shots and two corners for Souderton.

Yet for all of that possession and all those chances, the Hatters couldn’t score. That was, until they got the ball in transition. A long outlet off a Souderton miss got pushed out wide, carried up the field and brought back into the circle.

Somehow, it found its way to Acker alone in the circle. The sophomore midfielder uncorked a blast that beat Landes with 4:16 left and gave the Hatters a needed cushion.

“It felt pretty good,’ Swezey said. “But you never know. With field hockey, you can score goals quickly. It was a little breather for us.’

As for the lack of production on the corners, Swezey said it’s difficult to devote practice time with a compressed schedule, but it’s definitely something the team will work on with its upcoming time off from games.

While Whiteside called Landes’ performance incredible, she also noted the keeper “should never have 24 saves in a game.’ The Souderton coach also noted the play of Ali Casciato in the back for stepping up and trying to clear the zone and Courtney Kwiatkowski for being the spark the team was looking for.

“We just weren’t able to put a full game together today,’ Whiteside said. “That really hurt us in the defensive zone, especially in that second half.’

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