LEWISTOWN - It's been a tough week for Mifflin County field hockey. But there's one thing that cures all: winning.
After the Huskies dropped their first two games of the week - a 2-1 loss to Line Mountain Monday and a 3-1 loss to State College Wednesday - Mifflin County looked like a whole new team Thursday.
The Huskies didn't allow Central Dauphin East to possess the ball on the east side of the field through the first 16 minutes of play. That led to a pair of Whitney Strohecker first-half goals en route to a 6-0 Commonwealth Division win over the Panthers.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Allison Stuck, left, shoots the ball as Central Dauphin East’s Tanisha Gonzalez tries to defend Thursday in Lewistown.
"I think we saw a lot better passing angles today and we talked better," Mifflin County coach Tish Maclay said. "Certainly we still have some concerns. But I've been hammering them relentlessly and they came out with a positive attitude."
Mifflin County will have to work hard to get back to postseason form during the second cycle of the season. Right now, the Huskies sit at 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Mid-Penn. This game may certainly go far in getting them back on track.
"They came out fired up today and that was the difference in the game," Maclay said.
* Mifflin County hosts Chambersburg Monday
Central Dauphin East's lack of possession led to many opportunities for the Huskies. In the first half, Mifflin County had 14 shots. Five of those shots found the cage.
But it took almost 18 minutes for the Huskies to strike.
Sabrina Boring controlled a corner play for Mifflin County. The Huskies senior carried the ball inside the circle before dropping it off to Sara Neff for Mifflin County's first tally with 12:53 on the clock.
Following the goal, Central Dauphin East held possession for about 30 seconds on its end of the field before the Huskies took over again.
Strohecker scored a pair of goals 24 seconds apart to increase the lead to 3-0 with four minutes to play.
Her first goal came off another corner. Then, less than 30 seconds later, Macie Lucas carried the ball deep into the zone on the right side and sent a laser in front of the cage. Sam Peters made a nice rush on the ball and assisted on Strohecker's second goal of the game.
"We're trying to get them to not hold onto the ball so long in the circle," Maclay said. "We need them to take quicker shots and not dribble though there."
And with only four minutes left in the half, it would be easy for Mifflin County to just coast into the intermission. Not so fast, the Huskies said.
Lucas made the same play less than a minute later. She carried the ball down the left side and fed the ball back to the middle again. But this time Peters got the ball back to Lucas who fired it in.
Peters finally got on the board herself with nine seconds left in the half. Kezia Loht and Strohecker assisted on that goal.
Mifflin County got its last goal with 7:13 left in the second half when Boring got a feed from Peters.
It won't take much for the Huskies to get back on track in the Mid-Penn. But one thing Maclay said she needed from her players was intensity. They came out fired up Thursday. But that needs to happen every game.
"They know their backs are against the wall now," she said. "They know they have to have a better second cycle if they want to see the postseason. Hopefully they can progress and see this through."
The Huskies host Chambersburg Monday.