PEN ARGYL In the opening round of the District 11 Class AA playoffs Thursday night, the Lehighton field hockey team created plenty of opportunities inside the box.
Those opportunities never turned into goals as No. 4 seed Pen Argyl came away with a 3-0 victory against the No. 5 Inidians.
Lehighton played well in just about every aspect of the game, but it couldn't put the ball in the goal.
"We did a lot of the things we were working on all season – stepping to the ball, give and go passes," Lamar Long said. "But, it was the same thing that has been hurting us the last few years – we just can't score. We just can't capitalize on the opportunities.
"We made the opportunities, but we just didn't put it in the cage."
While Lehighton had 11 shots on goal, Pen Argyl head coach Fran Dowley was just happy the Green Knights' Lacey Hempeler, Nicole Kocher and Laura Zanette carried out her game plan, especially against a program she was all too familiar with over her 14 years of coaching.
"We know Lehighton is a storied program as we have faced them many times in the district playoffs," Dowley said. "I know coach Long is a great coach and I knew he was going to have his team doing the right things.
"We just wanted to come in and score first as that was one of our goals. And, we wanted to beat everybody to 50-50 balls and I say we did that about 90 percent of the time. We played hard today"
Hempeler scored off a Zanette assist in the first half, while Kocher opened the second with her goal in the first 12 seconds of the half off a Sara Cinelli assist. Cinelli was credited with the assist on Zanette's goal.
It was the first time in four years that the Knight qualified for districts. The Indians posted a 5-2 victory over them back in 2009. This also served as Pen Argyl's first opening-round victory since 2005, when they eventually lost 4-2 to Lehighton in the district final that year.
While it wasn't the way that Long wanted an up and down season to end, the Indians' mentor was proud of his team's effort, especially with the way it played in the final 10 minutes when it got off five of its 11 shots.
"They left everything out on the field," Long said. "I couldn't be more proud about that. We just couldn't put the ball in the cage. The scoring just wasn't working once again today."