WEST GOSHEN — After clinching a state playoff berth in any sport, the ensuing seeding games often can’t match the emotional highs of a clinching game.
The Phoenixville field hockey team found that out Friday afternoon at West Chester Henderson High School.
Paired with Central League entry Conestoga, the Phantoms fell 2-1 to the Pioneers in the District 1-AAA fifth-place playback game to determine seeds and opening-round opponents in the first round of the PIAA Tournament that starts Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Phoenixville was coming off an emotionally draining 2-1 victory over Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Perkiomen Valley Wednesday that automatically qualified the Phantoms for the state playoffs.
“It is tough to get up for seeding games,’ admitted Phoenixville coach John Tornetta. “We were coming off a good high. We were extremely high after beating Perkiomen Valley. We knew who we were playing. Either way, they are two tough teams. The girls read the brackets like everybody else so they know.’
The seventh-seeded Phantoms (20-4) will now be the sixth seed from District 1 and will draw the District 3 champion, either Lower Dauphin or Palmyra, in the first round of states at a site and time to be determined. Eighth-seeded Conestoga (19-3-1) earned the fifth seed with its win and will face the District 11 winner in the opening round.
Senior Adah Lindquist tallied both goals for Conestoga, which led 1-0 at halftime and then 2-0 at the 28:24 mark of the second half. Sophomore Meredith Ross assisted on the second goal, which capped off a scrum in front of the cage.
Junior forward Rose Moore scored the Phoenixville goal off a corner opportunity with 12:32 remaining in regulation. Senior TJ Jefferis made the insert on the corner, and senior Haley White had the other hit that helped set up Moore’s goal. The goal came off a cross to the right side with Moore tucking the ball home, just inside the right post to the lower right corner.
Conestoga’s senior goalie, Chloe Johnson, recorded 12 saves while Phoenixville’s senior keeper, Kim Rutherford, chalked up eight saves.
Phoenixville led in penalty corners, 11-7; and in shots, 13-10.
Tornetta felt the Phantoms did start to turn it on in the closing minutes of the second half, but by then it was just too little, too late.
“When they scored that goal, they felt they could do something,’ said Tornetta. “Unfortunately, there were only 10 minutes to go, and they had to play with the pressure of their (Pioneers’) level.’
But most importantly, the season continues next week for Phoenixville.
Conestoga got solid work up front from freshmen Emma McGillis and Kiley Allen, along with Lindquist, Ross and junior Casey Allen. … Tornetta substituted freely with different combinations to give as many players as possible ample playing time on the turf field in preparation for the state tournament.
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