RED HILL >> Methacton focused on playing its game of fast-paced offense and patient defense in Thursday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference field hockey championship match. That didn’t work perfectly the entire time as defending champion Boyertown put on the pressure in the second half and had a chance to tie the contest in the final seconds, But the Warriors hung on for a 1-0 win at Upper Perkiomen’s Bill Keeny Stadium for their first league title since 2017.
Lea DeWan scored off a pass from sister Lily DeWan with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter and goalkeeper Maddie McKenney came up with 11 saves for No. 3 seed Methacton (16-3-1). The top-seeded Bears (16-4) certainly had their chances with 14 penalty corner opportunities compared to four for the Warriors.
“The focus yesterday and Monday in practice was defense,” said Methacton coach Amanda Parrezzi. “Patient defense, not going in with our body and protecting your feet. And even though we didn’t do that all the time, we did it enough to win.”
“I think we needed to play our game,” said sophomore Lea DeWan. “Playing at high speed and a lot of in and out passing. We knew we had to work as a team, stay organized in the backfield.”
Methacton’s Lea DeWan sets to shoot the game’s lone goal during the PAC field hockey championship on Oct. 19 at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
The Methacton field hockey team poses with the PAC championship plaque after defeating Boyertown to win the PAC field hockey championship on Oct. 19 at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
The play went back and forth through most of the first half, with Methacton managing a couple of wide tries on goal and the Bears forcing McKenny to stop several shots.
Then the Warriors, whose only corner in the first half came in the final seconds, put together back-to-back corner opportunities early in the second. They cashed in on the second one when Lily DeWan took the inbounds pass and passed to Lea DeWan for a successful shot from the top of the circle.
The Bears put on the pressure after that with 10 corners the rest of the way, but McKenney turned away or deflected a variety of shots from all angles and the defense cleared the ball to prevent rebound opportunities.
“The defense is always good,” said McKenney. “The defense is my biggest help. The offense scores goals, but good defense wins championships.”
Boyertown’s Alaina Charlesworth controls the ball as Methacton’s Carmela Maro defends during the PAC field hockey championship on Oct. 19 at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
Boyertown controlled the ball in the Warrior end in the final minute and had one last corner chance with 15 seconds to go, but once again could not convert on its scoring opportunity.
“We definitely did have chances,” said Bear coach Alicia Terrizzi. “(McKenney) made some really nice saves. I was happy with how we played for the most part, except when we got into a track meet. I thought we were going to score there at the end.”
“We knew whoever made the least mistakes would win the game,” said senior Lily DeWan.
Boyertown had beaten the Warriors by 2-1 and 3-1 scores during the regular season while finishing first in the Liberty Division.
“Our theme all year has been to play our game well,” said Parrezzi. “The two losses against Boyertown, we were not able to play our game well. Tonight we were able to execute full-field transfers and inside-outside passing.”
Parrezzi noted that the Warriors have played other matches this season in which the opposition exerted pressure for extended periods.
“We’ve had high-intensity games,” she said. “The game against Oley, they had 26 or 28 corner opportunities, so we’ve had to handle pressure. We’ve learned to not crack under the pressure.”
Methacton’s Lea DeWan works the ball up field against Boyertown during the PAC field hockey championship on Oct. 19 at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
Boyertown’s Emily Ulrich in action during the PAC field hockey championship on Oct. 19 at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)
With Boyertown currently ranked No. 4 and Methacton No. 5 in District 1-3A, the two teams might well meet again in next Friday’s quarterfinals.
“They did a good job and we’ll see them against next week if things go according to form,” said Terrizzi, whose team was playing in the PAC final for the third straight season. “We definitely wanted to win today, but we have a lot of hockey left and we have to continue to battle.”
On the other hand, the Warrior players were thrilled to win their first PAC title after close losses in the semifinals the past two years.
“It feels amazing,” said Lily DeWan. “I can’t put words to it. We lost in overtime and we lost in the last 13 seconds. We couldn’t ask for a better ending.”