Nolehi wins first ever championship
Northern Lehigh head coach Jess Frew has been with the program for 15 years. She has been the head coach for 11 years, in which seven of them were winning seasons.
Despite having much success, Frew could never say that she coached a Bulldog team who were Colonial League champions until last night.
Northern Lehigh defeated Southern Lehigh, 1-0, in the Colonial League championship game for the first field hockey title in school history.
"We've never been the team on top heading into districts," said Frew. "We have a very young and inexperienced team. Winning a game like this should give this team a tremendous amount of confidence."
Southern Lehigh applied a ton of pressure within the first ten minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they came up empty during their early attack.
The game was about as even as it gets after the early Spartan push.
"The first two minutes of the game are the most important two minutes," said Southern Lehigh head coach Adrienne Searfoss. "Goals are scored in the first five minutes of each half and the last five minutes of each half."
Both defenses were quite impressive.
Someone was always in the right place at the right time in the defensive circle to keep the game scoreless for a majority of the contest.
"They always have someone backing them up," said Searfoss of the Bulldog defense. "They're always in their triangle formation. Someone is always there to intercept the ball when it comes off of the stick."
Frew said, "It doesn't really matter what happens in the middle of the field. It comes down to the attacking circle and the defensive circle."
With the game still scoreless, Southern Lehigh had a two-on-one break around the 13-minute mark of the second half. The lone Northern Lehigh defender was able to intercept the pass and clear the ball of danger.
This however was not Southern Lehigh's only opportunity to score in the second half.
At the 9:36 mark, the Spartans were awarded a penalty shot.
Bulldog goalkeeper Chelsea Harlan made the biggest save of her career.
Madelene McDonald's shot was very well placed and struck, however, Harlan's superior effort was greatly rewarded.
Harlan dove to her right and deflected the McDonald penalty shot to keep the game scoreless.
"Chelsea played phenomenally well," Frew said. "She played well against Moravian and she responded well again tonight. It's a ton of pressure to be in this situation."
With overtime looking like a strong possibility, the Bulldogs forced a corner at the three-minute mark.
Coach Frew called for the designed play called "together".
Frew explained that the formation consisted of the girls getting together at the top of the circle.
"It's been our team motto to play together," said Frew. "I said when you get together, you play together and you win."
Just as she drew it up, Taryn Kemmerer received the ball in the midst of her teammates and was able to put the ball in the cage for what would be the wining goal.
"I'm a defender, so there weren't many times in my entire career where I had the opportunity to score," Kemmerer said. "I'm really happy and excited to get this win."
The last time Northern Lehigh was in the Colonial League championship was five years ago.
"I had to prepare the girls mentally. It's tough to beat anyone twice in a season," Frew said. "They had to be ready to play physical and not take Southern Lehigh lightly. We had to execute as best as we could.
"The girls were nervous initially, but we eventually settled into a rhythm and played to our potential."