HERSHEY - Halloween was a week ago, but Brittany Fleisher and the Greenwood Wildcats were still trick or treating in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA field hockey tournament.
Fleisher did the tricking, while the Wildcats and coach Kent Houser got the treats. Fleisher, a senior forward, notched a hat trick and the Greenwood defense stood tall in a Tri-Valley League rematch with Line Mountain Tuesday at Hershey High School.
All that led to a 3-0 win for the Wildcats in the first round.
Sentinel photo by LARRY?YOHN
Greenwood’s Brittany Fleisher, left, sticks past Line Mountain’s Annie Klinger (12) and Madison Lagerman during the PIAA Class AA field hockey tournament Tuesday in Hershey.
This was the third time this season that Greenwood and Line Mountain were pitted against one another. On Sept. 20, the 'Cats got the best of the Eagles 3-0 as well. Then, on Oct. 9, Greenwood took a 2-1 win.
And the Wildcat players, along with Houser, came into this one with a few reservations to how it would play out.
"I think it's very hard," Houser said of playing a team for the third time in a season. "Again, you know each other very well and you get into a situation and hope the kids realize we have to really play well to win today. I think they did that."
*Greenwood plays Forbes Road Saturday at a site and time to be determined
Greenwood (19-2-2) moves on to the quarterfinals in Class AA. It will take on Forbes Road Saturday at a site and time to be determined. The season for Line Mountain (13-4) is over.
Fleisher, a TVL first-team forward, worked well with senior midfielder Mackenzie Wirth all evening. And that hard work provided the Wildcats with the first two goals in their PIAA opener.
"On the turf I could easily get my stick on them," Fleisher said. "We had a talk yesterday at practice, about coming back mentally from Saturday's loss. As a team we were more focused and prepared to rebound."
On Saturday, the Wildcats fell to Oley Valley in the District 3 championship game. But, Houser said, Greenwood came out with a mental focus that could beat anyone.
"I'm really proud of the mental effort the kids came out with," he said. "We were so worried about this game and where we would be after what happened Saturday. I was scared to death of this game."
Scared or not, Greenwood begin to find its touch toward the end of the first half. After the two squads played the first 28 minutes scoreless, Fleisher and Wirth created a little magic to give the Wildcats a lead headed into halftime.
Wirth was awarded a long hit from the right sideline. She hit a laser right in front of the cage. Positioned perfectly on the post was Fleisher. She made a gorgeous tip-in and the Wildcats were off and running.
But that's not the first time this dynamic duo would cash in for the Wildcats.
After what seemed like a sluggish first half - although Greenwood led 1-0 - the second half was much different.
The Wildcats came out fast and strong. Between the two halves - about 32 minutes - the Eagles didn't come close to a scoring chance. Greenwood had about seven in the first half and another eight in the second half.
"When we tightened up our positioning that really helped us out on both the offensive and defensive end," Houser said.
Three minutes into the second half, Wirth was once again sticking the ball on the right side. She sent one of her signature blasts to the middle where Fleisher was positioned perfectly. And she finished.
"We like to get the ball in Hattie's (Kuhns) and Mackenzie's hands," Houser said. "I though Mackenzie did a great job on the crosses when the chances were there. And Brittany had her stick on tonight."
Greenwood's defense was something for the highlight reel. Allowing only one shot on goal, the Wildcat pressure was just too much for the Eagles.
Line Mountain's best chance came just eight minutes into the first half when Sarah Lahr, the Eagles leading scorer, missed wide past Greenwood keeper Katie Osborne. Other than that, Greenwood wasn't pressured too often.
"I thought this was a great defensive effort tonight," Houser said. "We went to see (Line Mountain) play the other night. This is a team that is really improving. I thought our team defense tonight was really good."
Fleisher got the completion of her hat trick just four minutes after her second goal. But this time it was Jordan Burkepile that was awarded the assist. However, Wirth started the play with a long hit into the box where Burkepile made a nice pass to Fleisher.
And with the Wildcats coming into the game a little apprehensive trying to get their third win over Line Mountain this season, all of the fear went to the Eagles. Fleisher, however, admitted that just like Houser she was a little nervous coming into this one.
"I was scared. I'm not going to lie," Fleisher said. "I wasn't sure what would happen with them being so pumped up. They didn't win the league, but if they would have won today it would have been better than winning the league."