It was just one of those days for the Pleasant Valley field hockey team.
The Bears' entire team seemed to be a off Wednesday afternoon, as they failed to muster any offense against Nazareth in their District 11 AAA pig-tail game. Pleasant Valley had trouble getting off flush shots, controlling possession, and even making passes on its corner plays. All of those things added up to a 1-0 loss to the Eagles.
"That was absolutely the story for today," said Pleasant Valley head coach Angie Frantz. "We didn't come prepared to play our game. It looked like every one of our heads were out of it. We were individuals out there today and not a team."
Nazareth scored the game's only goal at the 11:40 mark of the first half when Lara Heckman put away a ball in the circle. Teammate Abby Wasson shot from the left side of the Pleasant Valley net and had her initial shot blocked by goalie Rachel Wild. Wasson got the ball back and threw a pass to the front of the Bears' net. That's where Heckman corralled the ball and shot it by Wild for the goal.
Meanwhile, Pleasant Valley had trouble getting anything going offensively. While the Bears did get off three shots in the first 30 minutes, they did not record a single corner. Frantz saw that as the first sign that something was wrong.
"All year we have been pushing to get the corners," said Frantz. "That first half the ball was way off our stick. We couldn't even get into our circle. It was difficult and a struggle for that just because we weren't keeping the ball close in those touches."
The second half was much of the same for Pleasant Valley, as it didn't record its first corner until 16:54 remained in the game. Part of that was because of Nazareth's defensive play. The other part was due to the Bears' inability to make the right play. The locals would often whiff on an open shot, let a ball bounce over their stick and into Eagle possession, or just not be able to make or receive a simple pass.
That didn't mean that Pleasant Valley gave up though. The Bears' defense didn't allow a shot until the seven-minute mark and kept Nazareth scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Pleasant Valley had one last good chance around the three-minute mark when Melissa Russo went racing down the field on a semi-break. She wound up and fired a shot once she got inside the circle, but saw Nazareth goalie Megan Gangewere block the ball out-of-bounds. The Bears then couldn't make anything happen with the possession.
Despite the loss, Pleasant Valley made great strides in its second year under Frantz. Whereas the Bears had just six total wins last year, this season they finished with an 11-9-1 record, made it to the Mountain Valley Conference championship game, and qualified for districts. It was the progression Frantz was looking for.
"I am happy because it's a step in the right direction," Frantz said. "Things are going up. That's all I can ask for and look forward to. Next year I hope we do even better and reach whatever goals we set for ourselves.
"Obviously we wanted to get into the first round on Saturday and play Emmaus. That was one of our big goals, but we fell short because we couldn't answer today. We couldn't make anything happen."