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Trying to attack the cage from the left side of the field wasn’t working for Red Land in its game against East Pennsboro.
The Patriots couldn’t break free from the Panthers stamina but were winning 2-1 at halftime.
Red Land changed its approach in the third by moving some players to different positions. And circle entry came from the right, which made all the difference.
Red Land won its first Keystone Division game of the 2022 season Monday 5-to-1. The Patriots are now 3-1 overall. The Panthers are 2-4 on the season.
Both the Patriots and Panthers are Mid-Penn Conference teams that compete in the same division. It’s one of the toughest divisions in the conference, as well as District 3 and the state.
Aubrey Clark, a Messiah College commit, is an example of the talent in the conference. She was seemingly everywhere on the field and responsible for securing four out of the five goals. Clark ended the game with two goals and two assists.
Clark scored first on an assist from Grace Wagner. Ashley Doyle followed her up on a corner, scoring on an assist from Emma Livingston.
“Once we scored the first goal, I think our momentum started going,” the senior said. “But then they scored. And our coaches talked to us. They said, ‘you’ve got to pick it up.’ We were just hyping each other up. We were transferring to the left side a lot in the beginning, which is probably why we didn’t have much success. But then we started going toward the right and it worked a lot better.”
The Patriots scored three goals within four minutes in the third, a quarter that was owned by Red Land. The first goal was on a corner – Clark’s second of the game.
Then Clark made a run down the right side, took the ball to the endline, smoothly distributed it up to the stroke mark, where the ball bobbled between some sticks before Lauren Tobin got her stick on it for the goal.
Ashton Komansberger started the next run, but it was back to the left side. She sent it to Clark, who ran into East Penn’s goalie. There was no foul. The ball was behind both Clark and the goalie, where Maddie Eisner tapped it into the cage.
“We knew we had a good chance of playing strong today,” Clark said. “Communication is definitely something that we’re trying to work on.”
Red Land head coach Heather Wolf said a handful of her players worked very hard over the summer.
“We set different expectations,” the first-year coach said. “They expanded over the summer offensively. We’re not just a defensive team. They take chances.”
The Patriots struggled to find the cage last year. A player’s dad noted that Red Land started the 2022 season scoring more in two games than the team scored last season, Wolf said.
“I have a different goal,” Wolf said. “I see them as athletes. I see them as students. And, more importantly, I see them as women first. At the end of the day, if they leave here after this year, my major goal is for them to see them I see them. They are remarkable women: doctors and entrepreneurs. They are what make me feel good about (the future).”
East Penn played a physical opponent. The Panthers utilized strong passes both near a teammate, as well as a long ball to get around them.
“If the physicality was a call or controlled at least, it could have been a different game,” head coach Liz Groff said.
Groff said she’s trying to support an 18-team roster. They don’t have a deep bench of fresh legs, and when a game gets pushy, her girls use even more energy to compete, she said.
They didn’t back down from the fight. During the second quarter, the Panthers had three offensive corners in four minutes. Red Land was able to break up the third and regain control of the ball.
Asia Daskalakis, a junior, scored the Panthers only goal on a corner.
East Penn’s fitness level is up to par. While they don’t have many players to substitute – there are 11 field players during the game – they have moments of fluidity.
Red Land: 5
- Goals –Clark (2), Doyle (1), Tobin (1), Eisner (1)
- Assists – Grace Wagner (1), Emma Livingston (1), Trinity Morgret (1), Clark (2)
- Shots – 18
- Corners – 8
- Saves – 4
East Pennsboro: 1
- Goals – Daskalakis (1)
- Assists – 0
- Shots – 6
- Corners – 4
- Saves – 7