Lehighton wins on Andrew's goals
bob ford/times news Lehighton's Rachel Werley (10) blocks a pass by Jessica Lehr (left) of Palisades.
Kaycie Andrew may have been the smallest player on the field Wednesday afternoon.
Her presence, however, was anything but small.
Andrew scored a pair of first-half goals, both on assists from Sarah Keer, to help the Indians gain a 2-1 victory over Palisades in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class AA field hockey playoffs.
"She does great on that left wing," said Lehighton head coach Lamar Long. "She may not be the strongest player we have, but her positioning is great and she seems to always be in the right spot for Sarah to send the ball to her.
"She started strong coming out of summer league, but she got into a bit of a rut during the season. Today, though, she was in the right spot, she got the ball and she found the cage. That's what we needed and hopefully she can keep it up."
The petite senior put her team on the board 9:20 into the contest. Steph Slaw moved the ball upfield to Keer, who ripped a hard shot. Andrew got a stick on the ball and put it past the Pirate keeper for a 1-0 lead.
"(Sarah) has a wicked shot," said Andrew, who lists her height as either 4-11 or 5-0. "She hit it and I had my stick down. Things really worked out for us today."
Less than three minutes later, the two were at it again.
This time Keer carried the ball into the circle and backhanded a pass to Andrew. The end result was the same as the Lehighton forward upped the Indians advantage to 2-0.
"This year I've had more assists than goals," said Keer. I pretty much send it across the cage whenever I can to hopefully set up a goal.
"She usually always plays toward the stroke and post so I try to send it across toward the stroke so she can run in on it and score."
Long hopes the two will work their magic again on Saturday, when his team (9-8-3) faces top-seeded Southern Lehigh in the semifinals at Emmaus High School.
"I think they work well together" he said. "They don't have to communicate verbally since they're on opposite sides of the field, but Kaycie does a good job predicting where Sarah is going to send the ball. And at times it comes hard so she has to be ready."
Ready was one thing the Pirates weren't at the outset of the contest.
And it ultimately cost them.
"We started off very slow in the first half," said Palisades mentor Pam Garner. "I think we didn't work hard enough at times.
"We looked like a whole different team in the second half. If we could have played two halves like that maybe the score would have been different at the end."
The Pirates (10-7-2) made things interesting just 4:40 after the break when Meryah Harding blistered a shot that seemed to deflect off a Lehighton player or her stick and past Indian keeper Kristina Schnell.
Palisades continued to apply the pressure the rest of the way, and had numerous scoring opportunities. One of the best came on another hard shot by Harding with 11:40 left, but this time Schnell came up with a big save.
"We got shots off," said Garner. "That wasn't the problem. It was just getting the finish. Their goalie also had a couple nice saves at the end to keep them ahead."
Palisades finished with nine corners in the contest and outshot Lehighton in the second half.
"I think they kind of enjoy doing it to the coaches on the sidelines," said Long of his team's scary finish. "I'd much rather have it a little less stressful."
"Yes it was really getting a little nerve-wracking at the end," said Andrew. "We gave up so many corners I was getting nervous that they might come back and tie it. But our defense played well and saved us from not going to overtime."