Eleventh-seeded and underdog Biglerville gave Annville-Cleona everything it wanted and more in Wednesday’s District 3-1A field hockey tournament opener at Palmyra.
Unfortunately for the Canners, it wasn’t quite enough as the Dutchmen escaped with a 2-1 victory after a shootout to advance to the quarterfinals.
“Their team played well,” Biglerville co-coach Katie Weigle said afterward. “They have a good team. I felt like we had a lot more edge through most of the game, but it is what it is.”
The Canners (13-7) were back in the playoffs for a second consecutive year following a prior nine year absence. This time, Biglerville made a statement early, scoring just five minutes into the game when Hannah Naylor found Alyssa Smith in front of goal following a penalty corner and Smith fired home to make it 1-0.
The two teams went back and forth for much of what was a wide open first quarter and the Canners took the 1-0 lead into the second. They maintained that lead throughout the second but not without incident. The Dutchmen (14-5) began to build momentum and had a pair of shots cleared off the goal line with 4:30 remaining in the half. Biglerville steadied the ship, however, and went to halftime leading 1-0.
Annville continued to mount attack after attack in the third quarter and eventually it paid dividends, as Braetan Peters jammed home a goal on an assist from Erin Schrader to tie the game at 1-1 late in the third quarter.
But the Canners responded well and immediately tested Dutchmen goalkeeper Grace Coleman, who made a sprawling save to keep the score tied at 1-1 after three quarters.
The first half of the fourth quarter was all Biglerville, as the Canners poured attackers forward and narrowly missed out on regaining the lead as Isabelle Allen drilled a cross right past the goal line that no one was able to poke home with just over five minutes left in regulation.
The pressure continued to ratchet up from Biglerville throughout the final moments of regulation, but Coleman came up with a pair of saves at full stretch to keep the game tied and send it to overtime.
“Our girls had it behind the keeper and they had a huge defensive save at the end,” co-coach Sara Peterson said of the Canners’ late surge. “Something like that, that’s one of those moments that happen on either end that could swing the game.”
The first 10-minute overtime featured back and forth play with neither team having a clear cut look at goal, but with the Dutchmen looking the fresher of the two teams. In the second overtime, Annville continued to push for a game-winner and it narrowly bit the de facto hosts, as Allen once-again created a fantastic chance on a counter attack, but again no one was on the doorstep to slam the ball home.
And so they went to a shootout, with the Dutchmen holding the distinct advantage of having an experienced senior in Coleman in net compared to a freshman in Biglerville’s Gabbie Rogerson. Rogerson, who was only named the starter for the contest earlier that day, performed strongly, making seven saves. But it was Coleman who stole the show in open play and did so again in the shootout.
She started by making a save on Allen, before Rogerson responded with a save on Peters. In round two, Coleman saved a shot by Naylor and Tori Cisney gave the Dutchmen the lead. Coleman then stopped Smith’s attempt in round three and Schrader gave Annville a commanding 2-0 lead.
Needing to score to keep Biglerville alive, Paige Ney fired a shot past Coleman to make it 2-1, but Grace Francis slipped her shot past Rogerson to give the Dutchmen the victory and advance them to the second round.
“It’s a lot of instinct and reaction,” Coleman said of her big saves. “You just don’t want it to get in, so you just send it wherever you can.”
The Canners, meanwhile, will look to what could well be a promising future for a team that returns six starters, all of whom are either freshmen or sophomores.
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at email@example.com
Biglerville 1 0 0 0 0 0 (1) — 1
Annville-Cleona 0 0 1 0 0 0 (3) — 2
Goals: B-Alyssa Smith; AC-Braetan Peters. Assists: B-Hannah Naylor; AC-Erin Schrader. Shots: B-9; AC-10. Saves: B-Gabbie Rogerson 7; AC-Grace Coleman 5. Corners: B-8; AC-7.