KINGSTON - Pleasant Valley was the aggressor early on, but it was Coughlin who pulled out a 2-1 victory in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA field hockey playoffs on Tuesday night at Wyoming Seminary.
The game went into halftime tied one goal apiece before the Crusaders scored the gamewinner.
The Bears (16-8) accumulated three shots within the first four minutes of the game.
One of those shots was a Kim Jimenez strike that found the back of the cage at the 26:16 mark.
"We recently moved her up to forward about four games ago," said Pleasant Valley head coach Jess Frantz.
Putting that ball in the cage for us was big. Kim is a very strong player for us."
However, Pleasant Valley's three early shots were their only attempts of the half.
Coughlin battled back the entire first half earning five shots and six corners.
Pleasant Valley moved the ball as well as Coughlin did for much of the first half, but struggled to create shots in the circle.
Coughlin had a four-minute advantage during the half thanks to two Pleasant Valley green cards.
"Unfortunately this happened when we had a lot of momentum. It would have been nice to play with our entire eleven for the whole game," Frantz said.
Although Coughlin was picking up steam, the Bears clung to a 1-0 lead during the remaining seconds of the half.
Coughlin earned a pair of corners as time expired. Katie Colleran was able to capitalize on one of them to even things up heading into the break.
"The entire first half we controlled the ball for most of the time," said Frantz. "For some reason whatever we did, we couldn't produce a corner."
The second half of play was all Coughlin.
"They were stepping to the ball and covering up the passing lanes," Frantz said. "Once we were in the circle they had us all covered."
The Crusaders set the tone early earning six corners within the first six minutes. Coughlin had 12 in the second half; and 18 total throughout the game.
Pleasant Valley goalkeeper Rachel Wild was able to keep the Crusaders off of the board during Coughlin's initial 10-minute flurry of attacks.
The Crusaders put up 10 second-half shots as Wild was able to impressively save all but one.
"Rachel played an amazing game," Frantz said. "She did a great job tonight and I'm glad we had her back there."
The Crusaders were finally able to cash in on one of their corners. Kelsey Gabriele was credited with a deflected goal at the 18:12 mark.
"Overall we played pretty well," said the Pleasant Valley coach. "We were a much stronger team in the first half than in the second half. Coughlin and its coaching staff deserve a ton of credit."
The Bears earned four corners within the last fifteen minutes of the game but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
Frantz said this season was very successful in her eyes.
"This was a great experience for me," she said. "We made it through MVC's, districts, and got to states. I'm looking forward to having most of these girls back next season."
Frantz didn't expect to be the Bears' head coach this season, but she plans on returning for more action next year. "I was brand new to the team as they were brand new to me," the coach said.
"Stepping in I knew I had a talented group on my hands. We accomplished a lot this season."
Frantz has a strong nucleus of girls returning next season which include: Annie Butchkowski, Abby Roselli, Johnny Schmid, Brianna Frable, Jen Kratz, and Rachel Wild.
"It takes many coaches years to have this kind of success and I'm thrilled to have gotten this far in my first season."