Hockey Devils pull off 11th hour win over Waynesboro

RACHEL BARTLETT, Echo Pilot intern
Senior Emily Strausner works the ball against Waynesboro on Kaley Field last week.

The Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devil field hockey team found a dramatic way to end a festive Senior Night Monday on Kaley Field. Not only did the evening honor the team’s seniors, it came on a final seconds goal for a 3-2 win against rival Waynesboro.

“Tonight was the most intense game of field hockey our team has played this year,” said G-A head coach Rebecca Farson.

Seniors Rachel Monninger, Haley Appleby, Emily Strausner and Whitney Singhas were honored prior to the game's start.

It was Waynesboro that held the early advantage on the turf, with the Devils making a few mistakes. Within 3 minutes of the start, the Maidens scored their first goal with a long hit and bump past Mackenzie Oberholzer, the Devil goalie. Haley Appleby, G-A defender, made several saves, both near the goal and further out, but  Waynesboro was showing some speed that the Devils needed to adjust to.

Lauren Cole and Deirdre Conway lent to an improved Devil effort at stick work and ball control. Oberholzer also stiffened, making several saves as the half progressed.

Waynesboro managed to take a 2-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the half, but it awoke the Devils. After a pass from Tori Russell, Lexie Sibbio scored the first Devil goal just three minutes later. Monninger's hustle and stick work kept the Maidens at bay and the half ended.

Junior Emily Bland said after the game, “Our plan was to go in confident and enthusiastic. We wanted to show Waynesboro our talent as a team.”

The Devils were renewed by the break and came back much stronger in the second half, taking several shots on goal. Bland agreed, “As a team we discussed taking as many shots as possible, along with using good stick skills and lots of communication.” G-A had strong drives down the field, but failed to have a player there to bump the ball into the goal.

After advancing the ball down the field, Racheal Marconi earned a corner. Driving out from the corner, she shot the ball to teammate Jean Hart, who passed to Russell. Russell then shot the ball through a huddle of players to teammate Sabrina Martin, who tapped the ball right into the goal, tying the game now 2-2. Farson commented, “We went hard to the circle and our passing sequences and circle play gave us two well-earned goals.”

With a few more saves from Oberholzer, it began to look like it would end in a tie game. The last five minutes of the game were intense, with constant passing and driving from both teams. With 20 seconds left in the game, Sibbio drove down field, passed the ball to Hart, who maneuvered around a few players. While Hart had the ball, Sibbio ran to the corner of the goal, got the ball from Hart, and scored the game winning goal.

“With the hype of our senior night, we expected the game to start strong,” said Farson.

“We came back to fight and as the intensity on the field picked up, so did the level of play. The final goal was a last minute execution that went better than any corner play we have worked this year. Jean's hit was on point and Lexie was there for a deflection over the goalie.”

Bland added, “Our communication was key for the win.”

Bre Conway scored both goals as the junior varsity won a close one, 2-1. G-A led in shots, 6-3, and in corners, 17-3. Caitlyn Smith made four saves.

On the road

Marconi and Sibbio scored as G-A came back for a 2-1 win over Bishop McDevitt Wednesday. Hart assist on the Sibbio game-winner. G-A led in shots, 18-2, and in corners, 18-2.

Conway scored, as did Moats and Karlee Powell in a 3-1 win over McDevitt on the jayvee circuit. Powell and Sydney Robertson each had assists. The Devils led in shots, 6-1, and in corners, 12-8.

Closing the season

G-A closed its 2014 campaign with a trip to the division champion and took a 4-0 shutout from Boiling Springs.

Farson said, “Boiling Springs is a high caliber team whose speed and aggression outmatched our team. The true stars of our team were our defensive players. Mackenzie was on fire with 18 saves, including a stroke late in the second half. Her intensity and willingness to lay out for any ball really helped to keep our score down.

“As a team who had a slow start to the season, I am happy to say that while we did not finish with a win tonight, we finished as a better skilled team whose improved intensity and aggression made us a stronger team in this last game.”

The jayvee team closed the season with a 1-0 loss. Smith had 11 saves in goal.