Wildcats shut down
HUMMELSTOWN — The Greenwood field hockey team hit the proverbial immovable object in the form of Moravian Academy on Saturday afternoon as the Lions sent the Wildcats packing from the PIAA Class A tournament in a dominating 5-0 defeat in a quarterfinal game at Lower Dauphin.
The Wildcats hung tough early, but were ground into submission in the second half by a relentless Moravian offensive attack that produced 14 shots and four goals after the break.
Seniors Mayv Clune (three goals) and Cecily Redfern (two goals and an assist) wreaked most of the havoc.
The contest was a scoreless defensive struggle through most of the first half.
A solid defensive effort in front of the net by Greenwood’s Paityn Wirth stopped an early Lion chance.
In turn, Nikki Pearce made a nice block of a Wildcat shot at the other end.
Junior Kierra Wittle responded with a steal and a breakaway, but her shot went wide into the side of the cage.
A few minutes later, Grace Lesh’s shot set up by a penalty corner angled just wide of the goal.
The Wildcats got another solid look when Morgan Burkepile’s spectacular feed set Wirth up in perfect position to score, but sophomore Grace Mulligan raced in to break up the shot opportunity.
“We played well in the first half,” Greenwood coach Kent Houser said. “We had some good chances, but just didn’t get the ball in the cage, and you just don’t get that many opportunities (against quality opponents). I think we got a little panicky in second half.”
Moravian finally broke through with time winding down when Clune converted a corner into a goal with an assist from Redfern with 1:12 remaining in the half.
Wirth nearly tied things back up about six minutes after the break, but her shot slid just wide right.
The Lions utilized heavy traffic in front of the goal to extend their lead to 2-0 when Redfern’s shot trickled in despite the best efforts of Laura Sheaffer and goalie Nicole Willi (12 saves).
Willi’s beautiful kick save of Cassie Romanczuk’s shot allowed the ‘Cats to hang around, but Redfern’s goal off a Pearce feed gave Moravian a commanding 3-0 advantage.
Wirth was a awarded a penalty stroke with 11 minutes to go after being tripped up in front of the goal by Tyler Schellenberg, but even that shot sailed wide of the target.
Clune added two more goal in the final five minutes to put an exclamation point on the Lions’ stellar day.
“We got beat by a good team,” Houser said. “We had a good year — 19 wins is nothing to sneeze at.”
Wirth finishes just her second season of high school field hockey with 178 points (76 goals and 26 assists).