Christopher Dock falls in final minute to Merion Mercy in District 1-AA quarters

TOWAMENCIN — The Christopher Dock field hockey team knew it needed to better if it was going to get out of the quarterfinals of the District 1-AA playoffs this season.

Last year, the Pioneers were not quite ready — an 8-0 loss to Villa Maria — for what the postseason had in store, but Thursday they hoped the quarterfinal match-up would go differently.

Merion Mercy was at it again. For the second straight year the Golden Bears were the fifth seed, traveling to the fourth seed’s field, looking for a mini-upset. Having done so last year — in fact reaching the district championship game from the fifth spot in the bracket — helped prepare Merion Mercy for the Pioneers.

The Golden Bears opened the game up with confidence and Jamie Natale connected in the first five minutes. The Pioneers had two choices. They could either panic and play frantically, or use the execution that allowed them to grab a first-round bye in the tournament in the first place.

“Merion did go to the district championship game last year,’ Pioneers coach Michelle Waldsburger said. “But it is not like we were not in this game.’

The Pioneers never panicked, even after a free stroke was denied by the Golden Bears’ goalie. They stayed calmed with two untimed corner strokes at the end of the game. However Lauren Dice’s dagger with 76 seconds remaining in the game gave the fifth-seeded Catholic Academies school the 2-1 win.

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