One goal enough to sink the Huskies

LEWISTOWN – Five minutes into the second half of what was still a scoreless game between Cumberland Valley and Mifflin County, the Huskies’ goalie, Jordan Myers, was playing a ball well into the circle when an Eagles player got behind her, but the reliable backstop got back into position and kept her team in the game.

Ten minutes after that, she was not so lucky – Cumberland Valley’s Emma Way got behind Myers, and tallied the first goal of the contest.

It help up as the winner in a 2-0 Commonwealth Division field hockey outcome favoring the visiting Eagles.

Myers, who saved the Huskies’ bacon more than once in the contest, could hardly be faulted for the ball getting in the cage.

“I think she has to use her best judgment and I trust her to do that,” said Chelsea Zook, Mifflin County assistant coach who stood for Tish Maclay on Monday. “She’s a good goalie. It would be hard to make that decision.”

But it forced the Huskies into a scramble that went the remaining 16 minutes without producing a score; the Eagles added a meaningless goal with 30 seconds left on the clock when Madi Sauve got her stick on a deflected ball during sustained play in the circle.

From the outset, it looked like a game in which scoring would be at a minimum. Part of the problem was beyond the control of either team – the field is not in the same lush condition it was at this time a year ago, and it showed when the ball bounced wildly at times, often leaving a cloud of dust in its wake.

But there was also a lack of focus by players from both teams. There was plenty of motion – offensive motion – but nothing that put the ball in peril of hitting the back of the goal. Cumberland Valley’s passing looked sharper in the early going, but Mifflin County turned that around, too.

“They played probably the best game I’ve seen them play all year,” Zook said of her squad. “They passed a lot better, for sure. And they were just more intense.”

That intensity created some early opportunities for the Huskies, who drew a trio of penalty corners in the middle of the first, but were unable to capitalize. Cumberland Valley also had a pair of corners in the first; only one produced a shot and it was a doozy, but the stroke went wide.

The Eagles showed more spunk after the break and eventually had the Huskies playing less to score than to prevent one.

“That’s where we struggled a little bit,” Zook admitted. “We played a more defensive (game), more ‘Let’s not let them score.’ You have to score to win.”

After the first goal, Cumberland Valley realigned into hockey’s version of the prevent defense, and while the Huskies had chances, they were few and far between. Instead, the Eagles rode the slim lead to the final minute when the final goal was scored.

Mifflin County (1-5, 1-3) hits the road for a pair of Mid-Penn competitions this week, the first at Carlisle Wednesday.