SOUTHERN LEHIGH Northern Lehigh field hockey coach Jess Schoenberger knew that Southern Lehigh was going to be a tough match-up due to their high-functioning offense and attacking style when in possession of the ball.
In order to combat that threat, she made some personnel switches to attempt to limit that potential. Throughout the first half, the score remained deadlocked at 0-0 and her plan was working well. However, the second half yielded a breakdown, as the Spartans scored early and often to move on to the next round with a 3-0 victory.
"We were worried about our defense because their offense is high-powered and intense," Schoenberger admitted. "I moved Alisha (Bowers) and Kristi (Seiler) back to defense because of their hard hits and great passing abilites and they did a great job of covering the middle."
That plan limited the hosts to a scoreless first half, but it seemed to be only a matter of time before Southern Lehigh broke the seal.
"I told them at halftime that they needed to raise their intensity," SL hockey coach Adrienne Searfoss said. "I told them they needed to score in the first five minutes of the second half and that's what they did."
Searfoss demanded such high results because she knew that if they would let a team like Nolehi hang around long enough, that they were going to be in trouble.
"Northern Lehigh always comes ready to play," Searfoss said. "Jess (Schoenberger) has done such a phenomenal job with that team and they came out tough in the game. We just came out tougher in the second half and pulled out the win."
Early on, the Lady Spartans were commanding play and dictating the action, even though the score remained stagnant. There were some spots where the Bulldogs challenged, but they were quickly dashed of those hopes to score as the SL defense took command of the possession and moved the ball back upfield.
Southern Lehigh had a huge opportunity to break the deadlock on a first half penalty stroke, but the shot bounced off the right goal post.
In the second half, Alison Newman opened the scoring off an assist from teammate Heather Smillie.
After a scuffle in front of the goal, NL goalie Nicole Horn went down and Stephanie Hess and Rebecca Hess teamed up for another Spartan goal quickly thereafter to make it 2-0.
Newman tacked on another insurance goal off a Rebecca Hess assist.
In the game, SL had a 8-2 edge in shots-on-goal, while they also held a 9-5 advantage in corners.
"I have three seniors and we're going to miss them," Schoenberger admits. "It's not about the work ethic or anything technical, so much as it is about enjoying being out there on the field and playing the sport they love. "