EAST STROUDSBURG - Corrine McConville and Vanessa Rimbey, two young ladies who happen to be the best of friends off the field, helped lead the Lehighton field hockey program back to the top of the Mountain Valley Conference this past weekend.
McConville and Rimbey each scored a goal in the Indians' 2-0 defeat over the Mounties from Stroudsburg in Sunday afternoon's conference championship game. Lehighton, who lost to Stroudsburg in last year's title game, avenged the loss and has now won six of the last seven conference championships.
“We really wanted this game," said Lehighton head coach Shawn Hindy. “This was a championship game and we had to win it in order to be considered the best team in the conference. The girls were definitely ready to do that and it showed with the win."
Since Hindy took over as head coach four years ago the Indians have lost just two conference games - both to Stroudsburg. Much like last season, Lehighton (19-0) entered this year's conference championship game undefeated. Thankfully for the locals the result was reversed this time around.
“I actually wanted my girls to think about last year," admitted Hindy. “I wanted them to use it as motivation. For me it was. We won every game last year and lost one in the championship. It was a thorn in my side all off-season and it was time to get it back. We put ourselves in a good position to be in the championship game and then we got it done."
Rimbey got the Indians on the board midway through the first half. She picked up a loose ball right in front of the Stroudsburg net and fired it past Kayliegh Stewart for the goal.
Early in the second half, she would set up McConville on her goal. Rimbey passed the ball in off of a penalty corner to McConville, who was standing at the top of the circle. McConville wound up and blasted a shot that smacked the wood in the back of the net.
The Lehighton defense took over from there. The Indians surrendered just two shots all game - both in the second half. The two shots were the only ones the Lehighton defense had given up throughout the MVC tournament.
“My philosophy has been like this," said Hindy. “If they can get by all 11 of us and get a shot - then so be it. We are learning how to work together and even if someone gets beat (the opponent) has to beat the other defenders. Our team work and movement off the ball defensively is helping us a lot. We have been focusing on our defense and I think it showed today."
Offensively, Lehighton out-shot Stroudsburg 12-2. The Indians also dominated in possession time and penalty corners (13-5).
The next step for Lehighton is districts and then states. The Indians were beaten by Southern Lehigh in last year's AA District 11 final for the first time in four years. They then suffered a heartbreaking loss in states when they were bounced in the first round in double overtime.
Still, Hindy believes this year's team is ready to take the next step.
“This team has the most experience with me," Hindy said. “I've had these seniors for four years. All of the girls on the team have been coached by me, which helps because they can understand my philosophies and what we want to do.
“Mentally I think we are definitely ready. These seniors have been to states three years in a row and now we know what it takes to win. We have been winning close games and we feel that we can win every close game or any game against any team in the country for that matter."