Bears defeated by Stroudsburg
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Johnny Schmid knocks the ball away from Stroudsburg's Julianna Sweeney during Thursday's Mountain Valley Conference field hockey championship game.
EAST STROUDSBURG - Unfortunately for the Pleasant Valley field hockey team, Stroudsburg pretty much did everything "right" Thursday evening.
Whether it was on the offense or defense, the Bears dealt with the Mounties handling all angles of their game plan the "right" way.
Literally, on the offensive, the Mounties scored every single one of their goals from the "right" of the Bears' cage, which helped the No. 1 seed secure its third straight Mountain Valley Conference championship with a dominating 4-0 victory over the Bears.
When asked if that was part of the game plan, or if it just worked out that way on the attack, Stroudsburg head coach Jennifer Lobasso didn't waste any time in admitting the truth, which layed out perfectly in the Mounties remaining unbeaten at 20-0 on the season and securing the Mountain Valley Conference's last championship in field hockey.
"It's our game plan," Lobasso said. "I'm not giving it away. It's no secret. We built our team around the right side.
"We know if we can get the ball to the baseline it's a pretty dangerous ball. Katie (DeLuca) was pretty successful at taking it down there and we have some other great players who can execute."
Not even three minutes into the opening half, it was DeLuca putting the Mounties on the board first. Teammate Jen Bukowski was credited with the assist.
Close to seven minutes later, Pleasant Valley coach Jess Frantz was forced to call a timeout to get her Bears together after the Mounties' Kat Liedburg, who took in a feed the "right" way from Sam Tepper, put Stroudsburg ahead, 2-0.
"We had a really tough time marking anyone tonight," said Frantz, who was forced to watch another PV setback in the championship game. The Bears lost a year ago to Stroudsburg, 2-1. "We weren't connecting on the field. We were just letting too many girls open and not staying tight enough on them in the circle."
The Mounties' Brittany Thornton got her team's final two goals. DeLuca set up the first one with 12:22 left in the first half while Michaela Burke had the assist on the second one that came with 15:32 left in the game. Thornton has been a thorn in the Bears' side the last two years with six goals in the last four meeting between the two teams.
"She's a very skillful player," Frantz said. "She's always at the right place at the right time. She's a phenomenal player, especially in the circle."
Stroudsburg finished with a 12-4 edge in shots.
"It was really tough for us," said Frantz. "We had very few opportunities to put the ball in the cage and we just couldn't do it. They have a great keeper. They have a great defense. So, it was definitely tough for us to do anything."
Rather than dwell on the fact that the Bears failed to get just the second MVC title in school history (the only previous one came in 2002) , Frantz said the Bears will brush aside the tears and focus on what's ahead in the District 11 Class AAA playoffs.
"Honestly, it's just going to be a learning experience," said Frantz. "So, we are going to have to put it past us. The only thing we can do is learn from it."