BERWYN>>No. 4 Boyertown gave undefeated and top-seeded Conestoga all they could handle, but paced by a hat trick from Shae Wozniak, the Pioneers pulled away in the end to post a 4-2 victory in the District 1, Class 3A field hockey semi-finals Wednesday at Teamer Field.
Boyertown goalie Addison Balinese and Alaina Charlesworth fend off an attack by Conestoga’s Hannah Simon (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)
With the win, Conestoga (21-0) moves on to Saturday’s championship game for the third straight year, where they will square off against Downingtown West, a 2-1 double overtime winner over Central Bucks West in the other semi-final. It will be a re-match of last year’s finals, won by the Whippets.
“This was a perfect game to play heading into Saturday,” said Conestoga coach Regan Marscher. “It’s great to get a good challenge before a championship game. Kudos to Boyertown, they played a great game, especially defensively, and those are the kind of games you want to be in as you move through the post season.”
Boyettown’s Mary Catherine Maloney and Alaina Charlesworth defend against Conestoga’s Keating Hopkins (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)
The Bears struck first, with Hannah Ulrich finding the back of the cage at the ten minute mark, with an assist to Emily Ulrich.
“I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of this team today,” said Boyertown coach Alicia Terrizzi. “Conestoga is a tough, tough team, and we didn’t back down, and battled them to the end. And we’re not done yet.”
Boyetown’s lead held for another five minutes before Wozniak scored twice in quick succession.
The first came with just under five minutes to play in the quarter. Wozniak grabbed a ball in a crowded cage area, slipped behind the goalie, and tapped it in for the score.
Less than a minute later, Wozniak unleashed a bullet from close range to make it 2-1 Conestoga. It was the 100th goal of Wozniak’s career, and she’s still just a junior.
Conestoga’s Shae Wozniak unleashed a bullet of a shot on goal (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)
“It feels great to reach that kind of a milestone,” said Wozniak. “It feels even better to do it in a district playoff game where I got to celebrate a win with my friends.”
Wozniak, however will always put team goals ahead of personal accomplishments.
“There’s no telling how many more goals she could have,” said Marsher. “But she’s always willing to pass to a teammate, and spread the wealth. She’s a true team player. She even got back on defense for us at times today.”
After the Bears tied it up at 2-2 on a goal from Peyton Shellaway late in the third, Wozniak answered the call once again, with an assist to Peyton Esposito, this time converting on an untimed penalty corner after time had expired in the third to put her team back on top. The Pioneers added a goal from Lexi Patterson, once again with an Esposito assist, in the game’s waning moments to ice the 4-2 victory.
“Both teams came out really strong in this game,” said Pioneers’ goalie Alex Lepore, who notched seven saves on the afternoon. “They put on some great pressure we had to adjust to, but I think our whole defense responded. This was a great game to get us prepared for Saturday. We had to be our best today, like we will on Saturday.”
Conestoga goalie Alex Lepore and the Pioneers’ corner defense (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)
Boyertown (17-4), is not done by any means, having already secured a slot in the PIAA Championship tourney. Up first will be the District 1 third-place game against CB West.
“This is a very young team,” said Terrizzi. “We had five freshman and three sophomores at times today. If you would have told me yesterday that we would have had a chance to win in the end, well, I just can’t be more proud. These girls will be fine. We’ll just put this behind, and know we can win games at states.”
Conestoga 4 Boyertown 2Boyertown 1 0 1 0—2Conestoga 2 0 1 1—4
Goals:Boyertown—Ulrich, ShellawayConestoga—Wozniak (3), PattersonGoalie Saves: Balinese (B) 8; Lepore (C) 7