As ‘scoring opportunities become slimmer’ Boiling Springs lands eight goals in quarterfinals to beat Annville-Cleona

Annville-Cleona’s defense was immediately under pressure in its game against Boiling Springs.

The undefeated 20-0 Bubblers piled on four attack corners within four minutes into the first quarter in the Saturday, Oct. 29 District 3 Class 1A contest. The relentless pressure led to another Boiling Springs shutout victory.

“Once we scored our first goal, it felt like a weight was lifted off my chest,” junior Reese Hays said. “It took us as a team a little bit to warm up and get into the swing of things. But, once we scored, I feel like us, as a team, had a spark again.”

The latest “dub” advanced Boiling Springs to the tournament’s semifinal round. The Bubblers will play Newport (13-3). Annville-Cleona (15-5) moved into the bracket that plays for fifth, sixth, or seventh place.  

The Dutchmen play Greenwood at West Perry on Wednesday. Seven teams advance to the 2022 PIAA Class 1A tournament.

Boiling Springs has only allowed three goals to be scored on them in its 2022 season. The final tally in the quarterfinals was 8-0 Bubblers.

The Bubblers are very efficient with ball possession. They protect the ball, not shield it. They run with it when a lane is open. They pass it using the long ball or a nearby pass after drawing a defender.

And, after the four corners at the start, it was Lexi Hanlin, Kutztown commit, and Reagan Eickhoff, Ohio State commit, who gave the team its first adrenaline rush of the night.

Hanlin carried in from the right and passed to Eickhoff, who was moving into position near the stroke mark. Eickhoff received the ball and reverse chipped it into the cage. Eickhoff smiled, laughed, and pumped her fist in approval as she floated out of the circle back to the 50.

Shae Bennett scored goal number two. On a corner, the ball was inserted to the top, passed slightly to the left, and then dropped down to Bennett near the baseline. Bennett eliminated a defender, dribbled, and shot.

The second quarter mirrored the first. The Bubblers pressured the Dutchmen’s defense on four attack corners.

Eickhoff received a corner insert at the top. She smoothly brought the ball with her on her stick to her strong side and gently sent it in front of the keeper. Junior Alex Bandura got her stick on the ball, which became bouncy. She pushed the ball toward the cage and Hanlin was there to finish it.

Senior Genna Bush showed off her 3D skills on the team’s next goal. She was inside the circle when she lifted the ball, air dribbled it, dropped it to the ground, and then ripped it into the cage. The score was 4-0 at halftime.

The Bubblers’ scoring spree hit its peak in the third, when they scored three.

“We just played so well together,” Hays said, who scored two in the third. “When I scored my goals, I felt excitement because I know as the season continues, scoring opportunities will become slimmer with the teams we’re going to face moving on. I was happy to contribute for us.”

Lexi Boyle also added another point on the board for the Bubblers in that quarter. Eickhoff bookended her goals for the night by finishing with another one in the fourth. She was assisted by Bandura.

“Heading into semifinals, I am so, so, so excited because I know Bubbler hockey will continue to thrive and we are working harder than ever to get where we want to go,” Hays said. “These past games felt like we have just really connected and played our game, not letting the other team control us on the field, which is something we started to struggle with at the end of regular season. We have been really focusing on playing for each other and doing it for the whole team, not just being selfish on the field. So mentally I am prepared and excited for what the rest of the season is going to bring.”

The Dutchmen got two shots off on the Bubblers. That’s better than most teams all season. They had moments of possession, and breakaways that made the Bubblers think.

A-C sophomore Kendall Cooper had breakaways and played tough defense throughout the entire field. Senior Josephine Clay stripped the ball from a handful of Bubblers defensively, too, disrupting Boiling Springs fluid play. And, Danika Setlock, also a sophomore, fought for the ball through her positioning and use of speed.

“This is the strongest team by far that we’ve played,” Annville-Cleona head coach Carrie Gingrich said. “They’re overall very strong, and they have a good chance of winning districts and going really far in states. We knew they haven’t lost a game. We were hoping because they didn’t play too many strong teams that it wasn’t true, but no, they’re a really good team. They have a lot of strong players.”

The Dutchmen play on “one of the very few” remaining grass fields in central Pennsylvania, she said. The team practices at In The Net to prepare for some of its varsity games.

“In our area for (Lancaster-Lebanon), we’re one of the few that have almost two full squads,” Gingrich said. “We’re lucky that we have as many that we do. We have a youth program that really helps us.”

Most of Boiling Springs’ players have also been playing together since their youth years. Much of the credit of the love of the game began in those formative years for her players, too, Boiling Springs head coach Kortney Showers has said.

As they’ve grown up together, they have shared the same values and vision. They have their eye on the prize: to claim District 1A champs.

“Districts feels like a part 2 to our season,” Showers said. “The girls have been able to regain the same energy they had at the beginning of the season and have the same passing game back that has been missing toward the end of our regular season. We know we have tough competition Wednesday, so the girls are going to watch some film and reflect so they’re prepared.”

Bubblers: 8

  • Goals – Eickhoff (2), Hanlin (2), Bennett (1), Bush (1), Hays (2)
  • Assists – Hanlin (1), Bandura (2), Eickhoff (1), Bush (1)
  • Shots – 15
  • Penalty Corners – 14
  • Saves – Eva Hancock (2)

Dutchmen: 0

  • Goals – 0
  • Assists – 0
  • Shots – 2
  • Penalty Corners – 1
  • Saves – Ava Wentling (1)

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*FAN is headquartered in District 3. We are also following district games statewide. Check back for November postseason coverage.

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