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SL downs Bombers for Colonial crown

CATASAUQUA - Southern Lehigh was able to score twice and hold on for a 2-0 victory over Palmerton in the Colonial League field hockey championship game Thursday.

The Blue Bombers came close to scoring, but weren’t able to put one through to get on the board.

“Southern Lehigh is a very strong team,” Palmerton head coach Megan Leadbetter said. “We know that they’re relentless out there. No matter what the scoreboard says, we knew that they were never going to stop.

“We had a couple hiccups here and there, but I’m really proud of the girls and what they came out to do. They made it to the championship game, and it was one of our goals to be there. We’re already looking at districts.”

Leah Kramer put Southern Lehigh up first by scoring with 1:08 left in the second quarter. Cassidy Clausnitzer scored the second Southern Lehigh goal with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter.

Spartans goalkeeper Macey Reese recorded the shutout, but Palmerton goalie Sarah Sabo made some great saves to keep the Bombers in the game.

“Their goalkeeper played excellent,” Southern Lehigh head coach Adrienne Searfoss said. “She was fantastic because we did have a lot of opportunities, and she was able to get that ball out and make a lot of saves. Luckily for us, we were able to put two in.”

Southern Lehigh got some breakaways in the contest and used that pressure to find the back of the cage.

These two teams previously faced each other in the first game of the season, and Southern Lehigh came out on top 3-2 over Palmerton. Leadbetter was proud of how her girls played in the title game.

“I’m always proud of my defense,” Leadbetter said. “My goalkeeper is a stud. Sarah Sabo plays her heart out in every single thing that she does. The rest of the girls, the communication stuff was excellent. I don’t point fingers or do anything like that.

“My girls did nothing wrong today. I’m very, very proud from the bottom of my heart on how they performed and showed up. They never dropped their heads.”

Southern Lehigh celebrated a Colonial League championship and finished 15-2 in the regular season, with losses coming to non-league foes Parkland and Oley Valley.

“The girls worked really hard, and I can tell on the bus ride up here that they wanted it, so it was good that they were able to execute,” Searfoss said.

Palmerton now turns its attention to the District 11 tournament after a runner-up finish in the league playoffs. The team defeated Northwestern 3-0 in the league semifinial to advance to the Colonial League title game.

Even with the loss, the Palmerton girls are focused on the next round.

“We’re already focused on districts, we’re ready to go,” Leadbetter said. “We’re ready for the next step. We’re excited to be there and be the second seed. We’re ready no matter the path and direction they give us. We’re ready, we’re on fire. It feeds the fire a little bit.”


... The win is Southern Lehigh’s third consecutive league championship game triumph.


... The Spartan defense held the Bombers scoreless in the Colonial League championship game, and Searfoss was pleased with how her team played. “Our defense in the center did a really great job of double-teaming and that created our attack,” Searfoss said.


... Palmerton finished the year ranked second in the District 11 Class 1A power ratings. Southern Lehigh was the top team in Class 2A.

Palmerton's Tessa Sander, left, and Southern Lehigh's Torey Ritter battle for possession during Thursday's Colonial League title game. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS