‘It’s our last time playing in this high school rivalry,’ Hershey’s Anne Gardner excited for Trojan seniors winning 1-0 against Lower Dauphin field hockey

Anne Gardner’s elation for scoring against Lower Dauphin was emphatic.

“I was really nervous,” the junior forward said. “There were three people in front of the goal. It was Roma (Orris), and Cara (Cronin). Cara took a couple of shots. When I took a shot, my knee hit the ground. It was frantic, but it all worked out.”

Not only was it the game-winning goal, but it was the second time Gardner scored the game-winner against Lower Dauphin this season.

“We just want to keep winning,” she said. “It’s the confidence to know that we can.”

Hershey defeated Lower Dauphin for the second time at Hershey on Monday, Oct. 3. The final score was 1-0 Hershey.

Both teams play in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division in District 3. The Trojans move to 8-2 and Lower Dauphin to 7-3.

Lower Dauphin plays Palmyra Wednesday, Oct. 5 and Hershey plays Red Land, which are all in the Keystone Division.

Gardner’s goal against the Falcons was scored with just over six minutes played in the first quarter.

“We have little forward meetings before we go on the field,” Gardner said. “We’re telling each other we need to talk directionally. Sometimes our downfall is we don’t know when to pass because we’re not calling for it. Our passing is getting so much better because we’re calling for it. Everyone should be doing it and I try to do it more and more.”

Once the goal was put away, the Trojans and the Falcons shared the same struggle. They weren’t getting any shots off.

The defensive lines were way too organized. Players executed all of the fundamentals – sticks down, double-teaming, lots of communication, sending the ball out wide, and finding an open lane to get the ball out of danger.

Lower Dauphin’s shooting machine is rarely stopped. But Joyce Tao, sophomore, Taylor Valoczki, sophomore, Lauren Schulz, senior, and Grace Allery, junior, held it down in the back.

“Our defense was doing really good,” Gardner said. “All of them were getting back and they had so many hits coming. Like, every single time, they stopped them.”

The Falcons recorded two shots. The Trojans three.

“One of the things that has improved is that our team is understanding that field hockey is a game of numbers,” Hershey Head Coach Savanna Lenker said. “You’ve got to get people behind the ball and get more people in the circle to score. There were times we were trying to score and we only had three in the circle. That’s an unrealistic expectation. We don’t know what those missed opportunities could have been. We have to hustle to get our numbers up.”

The Falcons used verbal and stick cues to communicate but couldn’t seem to bust down the backfield door. Junior Avery Pollock worked aggressively to try to set up shots by leaning forward to slightly lift the ball into a possible 3D skill.

She, however, was stumped a handful of times by Hershey’s readied defenders.

Pollock continued her front-line feistiness throughout the entire game, along with teammates Katelyn Strawser, and Emmy McCulley. While the energy was infectious, there wasn’t enough connection between the forwards and supporting players, Brynn Shaffer and Maddy Weaver, to find the equalizer.

The Falcons fought until the end earning a corner. There was no time left on the clock. Hershey’s defense obstructed a Lower Dauphin player, who was attempting to set up a shot.

Despite the offensive advantage, Lower Dauphin didn’t capitalize, there was an offensive foul inside the circle, and the game ended 1-0.

“To be composed in the middle of chaos, it’s huge sometimes,” Lenker said. “I think obviously a win is a win. I don’t think that was our best hockey. I think there are a lot of things we can improve upon from there. There were a lot of frantic passes, which was obviously our way of trying to maintain possession.”

Defeating Lower Dauphin is an historical fete for Hershey.

“I’m really happy that our seniors, we got to beat them twice,” Gardner said. “I think it’s pretty much everyone’s first year beating Lower Dauphin. It’s our last time playing in this high school rivalry and it’s our first time beating them twice.”

*Editor Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Anne Gardner is a junior. The previous version of this story reported Gardner was a senior.

Trojans: 1

  • Goals – Gardner (1)
  • Assists – 0
  • Shots – 3
  • Penalty corners – 4
  • Saves – Kylie Mullen (2)

Falcons: 0

  • Goals – 0
  • Assists – 0
  • Shots – 2
  • Penalty corners – 9
  • Saves – Payton Killian (2)
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