Indians win battle of MVC unbeatens
bob ford/times news Sarah Keer of Lehighton pushes the ball up the field as Pleasant Valley's Allison Heckman defends. The Indians won the game, 1-0.
It didn't take the Lehighton field hockey team long to get the jump on Pleasant Valley.
But it took until the final seconds before that lead finally was secure.
The Indians grabbed the lead just a minute and twenty seconds into Monday afternoon's Mountain Valley Conference showdown. They then successfully defended a Pleasant Valley penalty corner as time expired to post a 1-0 victory.
Already having played three games in four days, Lehighton head coach Shawn Hindy watched as his Indians made Echo Bretz's first-half goal standup. In doing so, the Indians (6-1, 5-0 MVC) remained undefeated in the competitive MVC.
"Mentally it was tough because it was our third game in a row," Hindy said. "I think playing three games in a row is a hard thing to do. I think once we scored we thought, 'Oh, this is going to be easy. We scored in a minute. This is a piece of cake.' But (Pleasant Valley) is a good team. They're going to battle for 60 minutes.
Unfortunately for Pleasant Valley, the Indians' Jordyn Homyak didn't give Alanna Liptak enough time to take in a pass from Alura Bellis and get off a shot for a potential game-tying goal.
Once Homyak got her stick on the ball, the whistle blew and ended any hope of overtime as the Bears (4-3, 3-1 MVC) tasted their first MVC setback of the season.
The Indians weren't alone as far as being put to a test. The Bears were forced to play on a different type of surface than they're used to at home grass compared to turf. It came into play as the Bears' corner pass was slowed by the length of the grass and allowed Homyak to make up the distance.
Since a game can't end if a penalty corner is called with time still remaining on the running clock (there was :06 left when it was called), the Bears were allowed to take the corner with no time left. Once the defense gets the ball or it goes out of the attcking area, however, the game is over.
"It was our error. We didn't get the ball out hard enough at the corner," Young said. "It's not a factor on turf, but on the grass if the girl but on the grass if the girl
doesn't hit it right then the ball doesn't come out hard enough.
"But, we played well. I'm very pleased with the girls. They ran their hearts out. We gave them a scare and that's what we wanted."
The Bears were given plenty of opprotunities to haunt Lehighton keeper Kristina Schnell on seven corners in the first half and then four more in the second half. Each time Schnell and her Indians' defense answered the call by stopping shots taken by either Bellis or PV's leading scorer in Felicia Domenici (eight goals).
"Our corner defense has been doing a really good job," Hindy said. "Kristina stepped up and has been improving throughout the year and playing well.
"[On the last corner] it was let's stop them now and the game's over. Otherwise, we're going to have to battle for it again. I just said to them, 'Do whatever you can. Don't let it go in.' If we give up another corner, whatever. We just needed to get it out. That's what they did."
While Pleasant Valley had to play on grass this time, Bretz, who notched her sixth goal of the season, stated Lehighton is more than ready to take to the turf in Brodheadsville on Oct. 8th.
"It's their turf. It's their home field. They're use to playing on it like we're used to playing on grass here," Bretz said. "But even though it's their turf and we're stuck with grass, we actually play more turf games than we do grass games.
"To be honest, we play a better game on turf. So, I think they shouldn't rest on their heels because we're ready to fight no matter what field it is on. No matter where it is we want to win and we're going to go after it."