Mannino, CB East shut out North Penn for third straight win

BUCKINGHAM >> Central Bucks East scored on a penalty corner less than two minutes into Monday afternoon’s contest with North Penn. But Phia Mannino knew the Patriots could not rest easy after the quick strike.

“Even right after when we got into the huddle we were saying 1-0 isn’t comfortable against any team,” Mannino said. “So we really needed another two or three goals to really top it off and feel secure. We kept playing like it was still 0-0 and I think that helped push us to keep going hard at them.”

It took until after halftime before the East field hockey team began to pull away from the visiting Knights with Mannino a primary reason for the second-half success. The senior Penn State commit assisted on two goals before adding the final tally in the Patriots’ 4-0 SOL Colonial Division victory.

“It was super-important for us to score again because they’re a good team and it wasn’t comfortable at 1-0,” Mannino said. “I don’t think we could ever be settled against any team, especially them so I think it was important for us to keep playing like it was a 1-0 or 0-0 game.”

Grace Bethke, Kenzie Lever and Hailey Dooley each had a goal for CB East (4-1-0, 4-1-0), which won its third straight since a 3-0 loss to Souderton Sept. 23 and also claimed a fifth consecutive win over North Penn (2-3-0, 2-3-0).

“We just played our rival team (Central Bucks West) on Thursday and I just think us beating them I think we were coming through with a lot of momentum,” Mannino said. “And I just think we really wanted to win today because we know North Penn is a strong and fast team and I think us scoring right away kind of set the pace for us. So I just think we played together as a team and we all gelled and passed really well.”

Down 1-0 after the opening 15 minutes, the Knights put together a solid second quarter that included a pair of corners but NP could not parlay it into a goal and East eventually doubled its advantage thanks to a goal by James Madison commit Lever on a corner at 7:08 in the third.

“I thought today our second quarter was our best quarter,” North Penn coach Shannon McCracken said. “First quarter we were a little slow to the start but they had only scored one goal so it was only 1-0 so I thought our second quarter was important and then I don’t know, I think we got a little deflated after that and then just they got the momentum and they picked up their play.”

North Penn’s Kerry O’Donnell drives down the field while Central Bucks East’s Kenzie Lever defends during their game on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

For CB East, the shutout win – its second straight and third on the year – coupled with Souderton’s 1-0 loss to CB West Monday puts  the Patriots in first place in the SOL Colonials at 12 points, two points ahead of Souderton

“Defense-wise we really stayed low and gave them space because they mess up on their own,” Bethke said. “(Emily) Bullard, our goalie, was doing great with communication and us in general were doing great in communication and the midfielders were helping us a lot and we have four backs so it was really helpful to defend.”

North Penn, which was held scoreless for the second time this season, sits third in the division with six points.

“We’ve got to be tougher on the defensive end and make sure that we’re working hard back there to make sure we’re getting the ball out and finishing the ball out,” McCracken said. “And then attack-wise we got to figure something out up there too. We’ve had opportunities, it’s not lack of opportunities but we need to finish.”

Both the Patriots and the Knights play twice more this week. North Penn visits CB West 7 p.m. Wednesday then is at Pennridge 4:45 p.m. Friday. CB East is home against Pennridge 3:30 p.m. Wednesday then is at Souderton 3:30 p.m. Friday.

“Wednesday is our Senior Night, too, so hopefully we win that game and just that will build momentum even more for Souderton who we need to beat,” Bethke said.

The Patriots had just three corners but converted on two – Bethke scoring just 1:52 into the game on the afternoon’s first corner. The insertion pass skipped out of the circle but Emily Horan sent the ball back into a crowd. Bethke boxed out the keeper and sent a shot through her own legs that rolled into the cage at 13:08.

“I’m not sure who shot it, it was a great shot and the goalie just hit it right in the center so it really gave me an opportunity to hit it in,” Bethke said. “And we were spread out so it was even better.”

Central Bucks East’s Kenzie lever watches after lifting a ball during the Patriots’ game against North Penn on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

Erin O’Donnell provided North Penn its best chance at pulling level in the second quarter with a shot through a bit of traffic but Bullard denied the effort with a kick save.

“We have the opportunities on the field we just need to execute and put the ball in the cage,” North Penn’s Maddie Waldspurger said.

East went up 2-0 at 7:08 in the third quarter on its third and last corner. Mannino dribbled in from the top of the circle and with her path blocked, sent the ball to her right. Lever corralled it, turned and blasted a shot into the far left corner.

“I kind of felt their pressure come on so I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a shot,” Mannino said. “So I took it in to see what could be created and I heard her calling for it so I just laid it off for her and her shot is always spot-on so when she sent it in, I kind of knew as soon as she shot she was going to score.”

In the fourth, Mannino set up the Patriots’ third goal with long run down the middle of the field then in the circle sliding a pass to Dooley near the left post – Dooley’s shot going off a NP stick and into the cage at 9:37.

“Their goalie was kind of coming out on me and I just like you said made a pretty big run so I wasn’t sure how good my shot, accurate my shot was going to be,” Mannino said. “And I saw Hailey Dooley – who scored that one – I saw her right on the post ready. So I just sent it to her and she sent it in.”

After pick up assists East’s previous two goals, Mannino collected one herself for a 4-0 lead with 2:28 remaining.

“I just dribbled it in and took a shot,” she said. “Went in.”

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