BERWICK - Two high caliber teams took the field Tuesday night for the PIAA Class AA field hockey seminfinals, and it all came down to a second overtime period that only occurs in the postseason.
Greenwood and Crestwood endured a hard-fought battle to the end, but it was Crestwood that arose victorious after its sudden death goal eliminated Greenwood, 3-2.
Four of the game's five goals were scored off corner plays, and the last goal of the game was no different.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Greenwood’s Taylor Tompkins, left, takes a shot on Crestwood goalie Dallas Kendra as Crestwood’s Morgan Kile defends Tuesday evening at Crispin Field in Berwick. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
A few minutes into the second overtime, Crestwood forced its first corner of the period, but Greenwood keeper Katie Osborne had a great play to block Crestwood's shot. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Crestwood wasn't finished yet, and on its second corner of the period - just seconds after the first - Crestwood's Chandler Ackers found an open spot and put the winning goal in to catapult her team to the final match against District 1 champ Villa Maria.
"It was a great field hockey game - we just came out on the wrong end of the stick. That's what it's supposed to be for a state field hockey game," Greenwood coach Kent Houser said.
"Great" is an understatement. It was flat-out exciting.
HOW THEY SCORED
Here is a breakdown of the scoring in Tuesday's PIAA Class AA field hockey semifinal:
27:47 1st half - Crestwood's Marissa Surdy was the beneficiary of a great corner play for an early lead.
18:06 2nd half - Greenwood came out in the second flying to the ball. That led to Taylor Tompkins scoring, also on a corner. She actually misplayed the initial feed before she got it back and fired a laser past the keeper.
15:15 2nd half - Tompkins did it again. Another corner handed Greenwood the lead. She was left wide open in front of the net when Hattie Kuhns gave her the ball.
11:42 2nd half - Just three minutes later, Crestwood knotted the game when Maury Cronauer blitzed a shot past Katie Osborne.
10:21 2nd overtime - The two teams then played nearly 33 minutes of scoreless hockey prior to the deciding, sudden victory goal. In the second 7-on-7 period, Chandler Ackers got the game-winner for Crestwood.
The game started with an early goal from Crestwood's Maury Cronauer, but for the rest of the half it was deadlocked with neither team able to find the cage.
During the first half, Greenwood's defense was putting up the tenacious kind of effort that gets a team to the state semifinals.
Crestwood's Daniella Callaghan broke past two of Greenwood's defenders about midway though the half, but the Greenwood girls never stopped and got back in time to prevent the score.
Then, Cronauer also found a hole, but Osborne ran out and kicked the ball out of Cronauer's possession to keep the score within one.
"They were really getting some big balls by us and putting some pressure on our defense. We did a pretty good job of recovering there - we gave them a few too many corners in the beginning - but all in all I thought we did a pretty good job of recovering and keeping them from getting any quality shots or getting the ball behind us," Houser said.
Greenwood's offense was quiet before the break, but the second half was a whole different story.
Greenwood only had two corners in the first half, but in the second half the Wildcats racked up nine corners, two of which were converted into scoring plays.
Greenwood's first goal occurred at 18:06 in the second half, when Taylor Tompkins found her opening and put Greenwood on the board.
Three minutes later, Tompkins stuck again, this time taking the corner insert pass from Mallory Fortenbaugh and rocketing it past Crestwood's goalie to give the Wildcats the lead, 2-1.
Greenwood pumped up the intensity to a whole new level, but unfortunately for the Wildcats, Crestwood was ready to respond to the challenge. Crestwood showed that it was far from out of the game on the very next play, when after forcing a corner, one of the Crestwood girls took a shot that looked like it was going in and sent Osborne diving, but careened off the side of the goal.
A few plays later, however, when Cronauer intercepted a Greenwood defensive attempt to clear the ball on a free hit, she knotted it up at 2-2.
"I thought both teams played great," Houser said. "There were tons of great individual plays, some great team plays, and I thought both teams' corner rushes were pretty good. We let one get away early, but then I thought we did a great job of battling back. The second half early we just really came out and I was so impressed with the effort we gave that second half to be back, tie it up, then get ahead."
It was this ability to give one up and then battle back that epitomized both team's efforts.
Multiple yellow cards were handed out on both ends of the field - mostly on technical violations on restarts - meaning that in the end of the second half Greenwood was playing short one player, and for most of the first overtime period at least one of the two teams was playing with only six players instead of the normal seven in overtime.
Houser said these cards took place because his team turned up the heat in the second half.
"I just think we stepped it up," Houser said. "We made some adjustments at half time about what we were doing with their free hits, and I thought we were able to get control of the ball a little bit faster."
Greenwood ended the season with a 20-4-1 record, and despite the sting of the loss, the game was a great showcase of everything Greenwood knows how to do. The Wildcats put together some nice passes, converted on the corner plays, and demonstrated its prowess on defense - all of which are qualities it has shown in games before.
In the end, it was clear Houser was proud of his girls, stating that they did everything they could in their attempt for the win.
"We just couldn't get the win," he said. "I don't know what else we have to do."