Bermudian Springs’ Lillian Peters carries the ball ahead of Biglerville’s Dana Newberry (left) and Paige Ney during a game earlier this season. On Monday, the Eagles and Canners were eliminated from the YAIAA Tournament with respective losses to Dallastown and Central York.

The Eagles will not be streaking into the District 3 field hockey playoffs, but they will certainly be flying high.

Bermudian Springs carried a 15-game winning streak into Monday’s YAIAA Tournament quarterfinals at New Oxford, where it lined up opposite of Dallastown, a Division I powerhouse. The Eagles never flinched, showing their talons are plenty sharp as they battled the Wildcats for a full 60 minutes in a see-saw affair.

Deadlocked at 1-1 through 55 minutes of play, it was Dallastown that broke on top when Ava Markel stuffed home what proved to be the game-winner during a short scrum off a penalty corner.

The 2-1 setback ousted Bermudian (16-3) from the YAIAA tourney, but Eagles head coach Kristy Zehr can’t wait to see what lies ahead when the District 3 Championships get under way next week.

“I’m excited,” said Zehr following Monday’s nip-tuck clash. “We’re going to play Bermudian hockey.”

Playing their brand of hockey has worked out exceptionally well for the Eagles, who recorded a dozen shutouts and outscored their opponents 75-6 prior to Monday. That changed in a hurry at New Oxford, however, as Dallastown (13-5-1), the D-1 runner-up, jumped on top 59 seconds into the contest. Lilly Cantabene loaded up and unleashed a wicked reverse-stick shot that smashed the back of the cage to put Berm in an early hole.

After fending off a second corner moments later, Berm had the better of play for the next 10 minutes. Lillian Peters was the catalyst in the center of the field, where she patrolled with what seemed like an iron stick. Peters repeatedly thwarted ‘Cat attacks while also sending ace scorer Melanie Beall on long runs with booming drives or aerials that covered huge chunks of yardage.

The game saw a series of ebbs and flows as Dallastown’s highly-skilled players continued to probe, testing the back end of the Berm defense. Brooke Altland broke through for a close-range shot but Eagle keeper Bella Bobe was up to the task, stuffing the attempt with less than nine minutes left in the half.

“They were really good at finding space and making really nice passes that were directly to their teammates,” said Peters. “If you didn’t get a stick on it they had the ball. Their passing and spacing was really nice and it was hard to defend.”

Dallastown, which piled up 15 shots and 16 corners, continued applying pressure but the Eagles refused to buckle. Time and time again dangerous passes or attempts to jam home a goal off a corner were denied as Berm simply wouldn’t allow a second ‘Cat score.

After turning back three corners in a short span, the Eagles finally connected the dots on a possession that resulted in a corner of their own with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. After the insert, Peters received a pass from the top of the circle and briefly thought about uncorking a blast, but instead of sending splinters toward the cage she spotted Beal, who deposited the ball into the cage to square the game at 1-1 and send the Eagles into a wild celebration.

“It came out to Riley (Marines) at the top of the circle and I knew it was coming to me so in my head I was just thinking ‘stop the ball, stop the ball, stop the ball,’” said Peters. “I heard people say ‘take a shot’ but I saw Melanie wide open on the stroke. I saw her and it was in and then it was a blur. An amazing blur.”

Having such composure in the midst of chaos is something that sets players apart, said Zehr.

“Lillian and Riley are my players that think two passes ahead,” she added. “That’s why they’re such nice players.”

Despite seemingly having all the momentum, Dallastown responded with a sustained counterattack that required several big stops from Bobe, including a diving effort with 13:10 remaining in regulation.

As the teams traded volleys it appeared overtime would be an inevitability before Markel’s dagger off a corner with less than five minutes to play.

Berm managed another corner with 3:30 on the clock but the Wildcats stood tall and moved into Wednesday’s semifinals, where they’ll face Y-1 champ Central York (14-4-1).

“The fourth period we played really good field hockey,” said Zehr. “We weren’t really making adjustments, but the girls were overlapping quite a bit which helped. We just needed that second goal.

“I knew it was going to be a good game, we usually hang with Dallastown. They have a nice team, super nice coaching staff, and good luck to them.”

Bermudian is a likely top-five seed for the upcoming District 3 Class 1A playoffs, which begin next Wednesday.

Josh Martin can be reached at Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33

Bermudian Springs 0 0 1 0 – 1

Dallastown 1 0 0 1 – 2

Goals: BS-Melanie Beall; D-Lilly Cantabene, Ava Markel. Assists: BS-Lillian Peters. Shots: BS-6; D-15. Corners: BS-7; D-16. Saves: BS-Bella Bobe 12; D-Maura Hunt 5

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