Powerful Moravian tops NL
BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP – The campus is tucked neatly into the posh neighborhood — a school that reeks of academia.
On the surface, one wouldn’t necessarily think this school that features a 365-student enrollment would be a field hockey power.
Moravian Academy is a perennial power that is flexing its muscles once again this season.
Northern Lehigh found that out in a Colonial League encounter Wednesday afternoon. The Bulldogs had to endure a bevy of offensive weapons, unable to find a stick to ward off the Lions and bowing 4-1.
“I really wished we would have played better,” said Northern Lehigh coach Jess Frew. “They’re darn good, and you always want to compete on a high level. They have some pretty skilled players.
“The game plan was to try and shut down (Cassie) Romanczak. But once she got the ball, she was able to distribute it to other players.”
Indeed, the Lions were getting other players involved in the offense.
“Northern Lehigh has some good players, but we just dominated,” said Lion head coach Wendy Sheetz, who watched her team improve to 12-2 on the season.”
Where the Lions were better was at the defensive side, as they kept checking any attack the Bulldogs tried to muster. And save for only one score, the rest of the action was in Moravian Academy’s offensive end of the field.
“They were looking for the open player, and unfortunately they were finding them,” said Frew. “Physically. they were strong to the ball.”
There was 9:20 to show in the first half when Moravian Academy slapped in its first goal. A pair of freshmen were dealing the action when Nikki Chiaradia slapped home the first score from the right side, with Marina Falzone assisting.
Nearly three minutes later, Chiaradia got her second goal on the board with Darby deCastro assisting.
The 2-0 deficit was tough enough for the Bulldogs to try and overcome, but when the hosts added an early second-half goal thanks to a hat trick from Chiaradia and Miller assisting, the 3-0 score was nearly impossible against this caliber of competition. Chiaradia’s third goal came at the 26:55 mark.
The Bulldogs finally broke through when Jada Mills stuck in a shot when teammate Hailey Evans fed her the ball to make it a 3-1 score with 12:24 to play.
However, the Lions ended any comeback hopes Northern Lehigh had on an unassisted goal by Miller with 3:49 remaining.
“You know we’re just not a one-man team, as you can tell,” said Sheetz.
To which Frew would agree.
“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but they’re a (quality) team,” said the Bulldog coach.
FINDING ANSWERS … Frew’s game plan was solid, but Moravian has talent up and down its roster. Frew would have rather played the contest on turf since her team is built around speed. One just needed to look at Bulldog freshman Olivia Horninger glide up and down the field to realize that. The Bulldog coach was extremely pleased with another frosh, Madison Cunfer, a defensive specialist.
BY THE NUMBERS … Northern Lehigh had only three shots on goal, and six corners. The winners collected eight shots on goal, and four corners.
STANDING TALL … Moravian is the top seed in District 11, class A with Lehighton (9-3-1) second. Northern Lehigh sits third at 10-5. One of Moravian’s losses came to Bangor, which was 10-1 heading into this week’s play.