Greenwood falls in overtime, season is not over
Wildcats’ offense couldn’t wake up
HERSHEY — Greenwood plays for the penalty corner, and against Boiling Springs Wednesday, the Wildcats had plenty of them — 18 in all, 11 in the second half.
What they didn’t have was a second goal– and 19 seconds into 7-on-7 overtime, the Bubblers did, winning the District 3 Class A field hockey semifinal 2-1 at Milton Hershey.
Greenwood’s season is far from over; the Tri-Valley League champions will face Annville-Cleona, which fell to Oley Valley 1-0 in the other semifinal, and are guaranteed an appearance in the state tournament.
Tied 1-1 since late in the first, Greenwood coach Kent Houser sent his small squad out after regulation with an admonition to get the ball, move the ball and shoot the ball.
Instead, in one of its better offensive rushes of the afternoon, Boiling Springs dashed to Greenwood’s defensive end, where Maddie Dombroski batted the ball across the circle to Paige Bond, who found the spot
Nikki Willi wasn’t blocking and won the game.
“We didn’t handle that quite the way we were supposed to,” Houser said.
But then, that was the problem for most of the game, which Greenwood dominated offensively with little to show for it.
It was quite a turnaround from the first five minutes of the game, in which the Wildcats looked like a team that was going to beat Boiling Springs for the second time this year. The ‘Cats first drive turned into a corner 90 seconds into the game, and they had two more in the next 90 seconds.
The third one was a goal. Courtney Fleisher put the ball away on a delivery from Paityn Wirth.
Greenwood spread the field well and moved the ball well, limiting the Bubblers’ chances. Dombroski had a breakaway chance in the ninth minute, but never got a shot off. They had two more go south in the first; one was a cross with nobody home, the other was well defended.
But right before the latter try, Bond had her first goal on a wide shot across the goal that even a diving Willi couldn’t stop.
Late in the half, Greenwood had four consecutive corners; they had six more over a 10-minute span early in the second.
“We couldn’t hit the cage,” Houser lamented. “They did a good job flying. We had some balls that were laying there and didn’t get in. If you don’t score, you’re not going to win.”
The Bubblers had just one good chance in the second half when Dombroski took the ball up field and put it on the stick of Taylor Pentz in front of the goal, but Willi wasn’t letting that one get by.
After two quick corners for Boiling Springs, Greenwood put together another run to end the half, two of which could easily have resulted in goals. At the eight-minute mark, a great pass to Morgan Burkepile rolled out when she couldn’t get her stick down.
And a heartbreak aimed at Eve Lesperance on the post came closer.
“It just trickled right by,” Houser said. “I thought we had numerous opportunities and just couldn’t get anything in the cage. You’ve got to give their defense credit.”
The Wildcats (18-3) were able to control the flow of the game, usually through forward Paityn Wirth, who was constantly under the scrutiny of Boiling Springs — not that it helped. Even double and triple coverage couldn’t slow her.
“As many as they were putting on her she was getting through them. She moved the ball around,” Houser said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty well. I thought we were moving to the ball well. We did everything but put the ball in the cage.”
Houser admits his team doesn’t see enough turf during the regular season — and will see nothing else this fall — which is one area he’d like to have improvement.
“There’s some things we have to clean up. Our turf game isn’t the best,” he said.
The district third-place game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lower Dauphin.