It wasn't the dominant Lehighton team that the local field hockey world has come to know over the past few years, but the Indians were good enough Monday night to get the job done at Pleasant Valley.
Two second-half goals by Stephanie Slaw propelled Lehighton over the Lady Bears, 3-1 in Mountain Valley Conference action. The win keeps the Indians perfect at 5-0 on the season.
"I think we got a little complacent after we scored the first goal and thought that it was just going to be easy," said Lehighton head coach Shawn Hindy. "But it is never easy. You still have to go out there and do it. Once (Pleasant Valley) scored to tie the game, we were like 'Oh yeah, now we have to go score again.' Then I think we stepped up our play and in the last 20 minutes I thought we played well."
Lehighton got on the board early in the first half on a goal by Jourdan Semmel. She redirected Echo Bretz's shot from the top of the circle into the back of the net. The pass had been worked over to Bretz off of a penalty corner.
Pleasant Valley (4-3) would tie the game up at one early in the second half. Much like the Indians' first goal, the Bears worked a corner pass to Cathryn Chaszar at the top of the circle. After her initial shot was stopped by Lehighton goal keeper Sarah Snyder, teammate Kristin Hart picked up the rebound and fired it back in for the goal.
Although the Bears did manage to stay with Lehighton for the majority of the game, head coach Bob Young still feels there is a lot for his team to work on.
"I thought that (Lehighton) played better than we did," Young said. "I thought they were slicker, their passing was superior, I thought their stopping was superior and I thought they deserved to win. They were the better team today.
"We can play better. We didn't create as much as we normally do, but that is good defense on Lehighton's part. Their ability to pass the ball was better than ours. They can pass the ball quickly and efficiently and I think that was the difference."
Following Chaszar's game-tying goal, it took the Indians just four minutes and 42 seconds to retake the lead. Corri McConville passed the ball up from midfield to Slaw, who then shot quickly past Bears' goalie Jordan Borger for the goal.
Twenty-two seconds later Slaw found the back of the net again. This time she did so on a crossing pass from Bretz. Bretz passed the ball across the circle from right to left on a break and found Slaw on the other side. Slaw rifled the shot and gave her Indians a comfortable two-goal lead with just over 20 minutes to play.
"At those times I don't think I even have to call a timeout," said Hindy on his team's ability to bounce back quickly. "They know themselves what they have to do. I've been a player and I don't want to stop. I want to get the ball as quick as I can and go back and try and score. We got a corner like 20 seconds later and the goals came right after that, so it was good."
While the corners were close (14-13 in favor of Lehighton), the shots were not. The Indians fired off 17 more shots than Pleasant Valley (21-4), including 11 more in the final half.
Though Lehighton's scoring is somewhat down from the previous seasons, Hindy feels this year's team is just as good as the others he has had in recent history.
"I think this team is just as good as any of the others I have had," Hindy said. "I've had these seniors for four years and they know what I want. They know my philosophies and tactics for the game. We have been all getting better at doing it together.
"I think we have a chance to go far we just have to get tougher mentally. We talk about that every day, but that is what it is going to take. We will always have to improve and get better, but we have started out well and that is always good."