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Green Dragons too much for Mustangs

Midd-West falls to PHAC foe, 4-1

Sentinel photo by WILLIAM WHISLER
Midd-West’s Haley Stahl (No. 7) tries to clear the ball past a Lewisburg forward in the second half of a Heartland Conference field hockey game on Monday night. Lewisburg won, 4-1.

MIDDLEBURG — A dominant first half and two goals off the stick of Lewisburg’s Kara Koch lifted the Green Dragons past Midd-West, 4-1, in a Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference (PHAC) matchup at the Mustang’s Sports Boosters Park on Monday night.

The Mustangs (0-2) went toe-to-toe with the reigning District 4 Class A champions, but struggled to win possession in the first half. The Green Dragons (2-1) took advantage, as Maddie Ikeler scored with 11:50 left in the first quarter and Avery Mast scored with 1:17 left to set the tone early. Lewisburg led 2-0 after the opening frame.

Midd-West’s goalie Paris Seibel fought off an offensive onslaught in the second quarter, as the Green Dragons continued to put pressure on net throughout the opening half.

Lewisburg finally broke through with 4:46 left in the half, as Kara Koch finished off a shot in the right side of the circle to give the Green Dragons a commanding 3-1 lead.

Midd-West’s biggest struggle came from it’s inability to put multiple passes together in transition, as the Mustangs won possession but were hurt by turnovers in the Lewisburg zone. The Mustangs generated a few opportunities in the second half, but were unable to convert in front of the cage.

“We just couldn’t connect with our last pass,” Midd-West coach Jodie Sheaffer said. “We’d make a move and then were just unable to connect. I think that they played a great game. I have a very young team and a goalie who has only played one year and she was phenomenal tonight. Paris (Seibel) played amazing for us. Delaney Klingler really stepped up, along with Haley Stahl in the back. We did some really great things. I’m very pleased with where we are coming as a team.”

Midd-West trailed 3-0 at the half and found some momentum after staving off multiple Green Dragon opportunities, the best of which came on a break away for Lewisburg’s Mast, who was denied by a sliding Paris Seibel.

Klingler gave some advice to the young goaltender that paid off, as Seibel made multiple impressive saves to keep the Mustangs within striking distance.

“I had told her that she needed to be ready to dive because they can flick it in and she stepped it up and went out and dived after the ball,” Klingler said.

Midd-West finally got on the board with 7:12 remaining in the third, as Midd-West’s Sarah Shupp found the back of the net off an assist from Klingler. Klingler saw that Shupp had created separation and fed her a pass that she converted for the goal, cutting the lead to 3-1.

“I looked up and had the ball on my stick and I saw (Sarah) wide open, and I knew if I got it there that she would finish it,” Klingler said.

Midd-West had opportunities in the fourth to get back into the game after Seibel shut the door on three-straight corners to end the third and saved two other shots.

“Delaney flies on those and she was able to track the ball down on those,” Sheaffer said. “They had quite a few corners and we were able to keep them out of the back of the net with some good defense back there.”

The Mustangs were unable to put much pressure on Lewisburg goalie Kerstin Koons, as passes went wide of the cage before Midd-West could fire a shot.

“That was definitely the key for us tonight,” Sheaffer said. “We just couldn’t complete that last pass. If we would have been able to do that we could have found the back of the cage a couple more times, but I am happy with how we are playing and where we are going.”

Last season the Green Dragons posted a dominant win over Midd-West, so Klingler was happy with how her team competed Monday night.

“I know last year we went in and we lost 11-0,” Klingler said. “This year we really wanted the game to be different. I know that I wanted to win, but at least we were able to score.”

Midd-West returns to action Saturday at Danville.

Overall, Sheaffer is happy with how her team is competing, despite the 0-2 start. With a lot of youth, she has seen improvement in the little things each game.

“Our team is so young and we don’t have many players that have been there for a while, but from last game to this game, they are playing much better,” Sheaffer said. “Their passing is coming together and they are being more aggressive and playing well together.”

Lewisburg 4, Midd-West 1

LEW 3 1 — 4

MW 0 1 — 1

Goals: L– Kara Koch 2, Avery Mast, Maddie Ikeler; MW – Sarah Shupp. Corners: 9-2, L. Shots: 13-9, L. Saves: Paris Seibel 9 (MW); Kerstin Koons 2 (L).

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