Huskies even the score against Rams
Kahley tallies game winner in home debut
LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County was able to get over a sluggish start and late-game scare to open its new home field in front of the high school with a 2-1 win over Central Dauphin in a Mid-Penn Commonwealth field hockey game Monday.
Fewer than three minutes into the game, Central Dauphin’s Emmy Tran put the Rams on the board with a slight stroke in front the of goal on an early penalty corner for the Rams. Hope Rose was credited with the assist.
That goal gave the Rams an early lead, but it also gave the Huskies a much-needed boost in hopes of alleviating the early season woes they went through during their first two games of the season — both on the road, including one against the Rams.
“It’s obviously disappointing when you lose two games back to back to start the season,” Mifflin County coach Courtney Kanagy said. “Something weird happened that we played Central Dauphin in back-to-back weeks. The same thing happened last year, but we had time to adjust and have advantage with our field, and this win’s huge for us and a good win that we needed.”
Led in large part by its junior and senior players, Mifflin County became the aggressor Monday, especially on offense.
The game plan paid off big when Mifflin County was awarded one of its 16 penalty corners as the clocked ticked below the 10-minutes mark.
Halle Kerstetter got the ball to Marcella Pupo off the corner who then passed it to Keni Kahley. Kahley then hit the right corner of the cage to give the Huskies the one-goal lead. It proved to be the game-winning goal as the Huskies were able to hold off a defensive scare later.
As the clock wound down to just under three minutes, both teams were warned to calm down on the shoving and allow the necessary space needed on free shots as the tensions of a one-goal game got heated.
Then with 1:07 left in the game, a Mifflin County player was issued a card for a five-yard offense (not enough room for the Rams on a free shot) and removed from the remainder of the game, giving the visitors a man advantage.
The defense held on despite being a player short and facing two penalty corners awarded to the Rams, including one as the clock ran out, taking the game beyond the expiration of playing time.
Kanagy was on both ends of the tale when it came to last-second penalty corners being turned into points, but credits having to play the Rams for the second time in 10 days as a factor for the Huskies’ well-rounded performance.
“Most of the time when you play everybody, teams are vastly different in the second half of the season,” she said. “They can improve a lot or lose players to injuries. It can be a lot different in the second half and I think it’s a lot more even play when you play them so close together because we’re both the same team, but with some minor adjustments.”
Mifflin County made the necessary adjustments after the early deficit, and for much of the game, became the driving force for the remainder of the contest.
The Huskies (1-2, 1-2) moved the the ball effectively and with just about eight minutes taken off the clock, Baylee Lepley managed to get the ball out of a group of players and past Rams’ goalkeeper Abby Shaffer to tie the game at one. Emily Shilling got the assist.
“Sometimes I almost feel like we play better when we’re behind, which is not a habit that we want to get into,” Kanagy said. “It definitely pushed us (to play) harder, and gave us more motivation to get the job done now and not wait 30 minutes.”
The offensive attack continued for the Huskies as they managed to outplay the Rams in both shots (21-6) and penalty corners (16-8).
At one point late in the first half, the Huskies got six shots on goal within a three-minute period that included four penalty corners.
Shaffer finished with 19 saves against 21 Mifflin County shots. Along with four stops by Huskies’ goalie Selena Breneman, Maggie Solomon had a defensive save.
Central Dauphin won the JV game, 2-0.
Mifflin County hosts Cedar Cliff on Wednesday.
Mifflin County 2, Central Dauphin 1
CD –Emmy Tran (Hope Rose), 27:24; MC — Baylee Lepley (Emily Shilling), 19:25.
MC — Keni Kahley (Marcella Pupo), 9:20.
Shots: MC 21-6. Corners: MC 16-8. Saves: CD-19 (Abby Shaffer); MC- 4 (Selena Breneman).