Mechanicsburg’s Gracyn Catalano edges out Hershey with second goal for the Wildcats 2-1 win

Gracyn Catalano was done being quiet.

The Mechanicsburg senior broke her silence Wednesday by scoring two goals that secured the Wildcats its 2-1 win versus Hershey ending her scoring dry spell.

The ‘Cats and the Trojans, both Class 2A in District 3, have identical records. The Keystone Division’s Mid-Penn Conference teams’ records stand at 6-2.

“In our little huddle before our game, we said we were going to play strong,” Catalano said. “We’re going to play as a team, we’re going to score first. And we were able to do that. I think that’s why we were able to come out on top today.” 

Her first goal was all positioning. Anne Manning, a senior and St. Joseph’s commit, on a corner dumped a small ball from the top of the circle to Catalano. Standing only a few feet away from Hershey’s keeper, Catalano took a shot.

It was kicked back to her, which is when Catalano stopped the ball on her stick and finished the point.

The first-quarter goal upped her game. She was seemingly more confident in the first two-minutes of the second.

Catalano ripped an unassisted reverse chip from the top of the circle that lobbed over the goalie into the back of the cage.

Catalano’s style isn’t easily copied. She’s scrappy, uses 3-D skills more often than others. And when she finds her rhythm, she’s hard to defend.

“Our passing is probably the best part of our game,” Catalano said. “The quick passes, that is the easiest way to get (the ball) up the field.” 

The bonus to scoring on Wednesday – it was her dad’s birthday, she said.

Five minutes after Catalano’s second goal, Hershey was also able to execute one of its six corners.

Senior Grace Allery cut the deficit when she crushed a ball from the top of the circle into the backboard. It was a textbook corner starting with a well-paced ball from senior Lauren Shultz.

While the game’s final score had been decided in the first half, the fight to try to change it didn’t.

Hershey’s passing, pacing, and shooting was off the charts, but they couldn’t land one. Either the ‘Cats defense broke up their strategic moves or Hershey couldn’t get a controlled stick on the ball.

The Trojans missed three chances to score on an open cage.

“I’ve been impressed with Hershey’s team,” Mechanicsburg Head Coach Tonya Brown said. “They’re really good at the long ball game. We had a little bit of problems stopping them. We worked on that yesterday, as well as worked on the aerials. We were trying to send it over their high press.” 

A large part of the third and fourth quarters were played between the two 25s in the middle of the field. Shultz and Emily Beitzel continued to hammer hits up to their forwards. Roma Orris and Ampi Marzari had speedy runs down the right and left sides heading toward goal but couldn’t get shots off.

Much to their dismay, the ‘Cats center back, senior Casey Tyrrell denied them access. Tyrrell was able to maneuver around several sticks and release the ball to Mechanicsburg’s attack players.

Alana Shimp is “breaking ankles” along the right, Brown said. The term refers to her fancy stickwork, she said.

“She’s really good at finding Cam (Standish), and then Cam is really good at finding Lauren (Mark), Gracyn and Anne,” Brown said.

Stats were even, Hershey Head Coach Savanna Lenker said.

“Flip a coin,” she said. “It’s them one day, and it’s ours the next.”

Lenker said she’s proud of her team. The Trojans need to “clean a few things up” and play the entire 60 minutes.

“If we played like we did in the fourth quarter, it would have been a different game,” she said. “Possession-wise, we were completely dominating. I think we clean a few things up. And I think we just bounce back.” 

Wildcats: 2

  • Goals – Catalano (2)
  • Assists – Manning (1)
  • Shots – 6
  • Penalty corners – 8
  • Saves – Alexandra Brady (3)

Trojans: 1

  • Goals – Allery (1)
  • Assists – Shultz (1)
  • Shots – 4
  • Penalty corners – 6
  • Saves – Kylie Mullen (4)
Share the Post:

Related Posts