‘We just kept the energy high the whole game,’ Grace Allery on Hershey’s 4-0 shutout victory over Manheim Central

Two seemed to be the magic number for Hershey field hockey.

Two Trojans each scored two goals to lift second-seeded Hershey (15-2-1) to a 4-0 shutout against Manheim Central (14-5-1) in a District 3 Class 2A quarterfinal matchup. Hershey plays Twin Valley on Wednesday in the semifinals.

One of two goal scorers was junior forward Anne Gardner.

Her first goal came five minutes into the game. Gardner received a pass from Emily Beitzel at the top of the circle with a defender on her back. The shot was a no-looker off of Gardner’s back foot.

“I just kinda took the shot,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s second tally came in the fourth quarter with just under three minutes left to play.

Trojan midfielder Cara Cronin broke loose of Manheim Central defenders and flew up the field. At the top of the circle, Cronin dumped the ball to her right to eliminate two defenders closing in on her, and an unmarked Gardner picked it up and snuck a skillful shot under the goalie’s dive.

Gardner credited both of her goals to “really good passing from the midfielders.”

While Gardner started and finished the Trojan’s scoring, Grace Allery landed two in between hers. Allery punched in a powerful shot from the top of the circle during a corner with 14 seconds remaining.

Straight shots are “what I do usually,” Allery said.

Then, in the third quarter, Allery took advantage of another corner. From the top, the ball was dumped right to her stick, and she nearly repeated her earlier goal.

“Our team just found the open space and open people, and I took the shot when I had the chance,” Allery said.

Hershey dominated play for nearly the entire game. But out of the gate, it was Manheim Central with the energy.

“We knew that in today’s game, we had to start fast,” said the Baron’s head coach Morgan Briggs. “We started off strong. We were able to get some shots and some corners. We just had a hard time executing.”

The Barons came out both fast and strong in the first five minutes of the game, earning two corners a minute apart and four shots.

“I think at the beginning of the game, we definitely got caught on our heels a little bit,” said Hershey head coach Savanna Lenker. “But we did a nice job of rallying around the first goal and making sure we continued that same high level of play to put more goals in.”


But their momentum began to fade as Hershey found its footing behind Gardner’s, then Allery’s goals.

“Once Hershey started going, we couldn’t stop them,” said Briggs. Her players’ game plan was to “pack the middle, force them outside, and stop their key players.”

Then, with one minute left before the half, a Trojan defensive breakdown left Manheim Central with a corner and an opportunity to break the shutout.

However, the ball hit the foot of the receiver and left the Barons unable to retaliate before the half. They were also unable to record any shots or corners throughout the second.

Meanwhile, Hershey racked up goals from Gardner and Allery, nine shots and five corners.

“We know that when we show up to this, especially on our own field, that we need to deliver,” Lenker said. “We know our strengths come from the strength of the team as a whole, so just making sure we keep up the passing speed and rely on the strengths of our teammates to get goals in the cage.”

And on the other end, Manheim Central was racking up cards. Two green ones, specifically.

“We’ve had a lot of cards this season, so our team is used to getting cards for various reasons,” Briggs said with a laugh. “I think we’re a very aggressive team but definitely a learning experience. For one of our players, that was her first card.”

The first card was issued just over two minutes into the third quarter when a Baron stick tackle tripped a Trojan defender and both players hit the turf.

The second came barely thirty seconds into the fourth quarter when a Baron defender wasn’t five yards from a Trojan free hit.

Briggs is working on her players “paying attention to details,” like making sure they’re five and have cleaner tackles.

“It’s just part of the game,” Briggs said.

As for Hershey, the game was a fun win from good energy on the field.

“I think a lot of people on the field just felt like we were having a fun time, ’cause I think we had good passing,” said Gardner. “We were just using the fun to give us energy.”

Allery agreed.

“I think we worked really well together as a team,” she said. “We just kept the energy high the whole game.”

And energy is something the Trojans are going to need if they want to continue the momentum they have now.

“We know that teams are going to show up to play us,” Lenker said. “They know what we’re capable of and they’re going to put their best foot forward any time they play us. So, we have to continue that high level of play to prove that we deserve to go all the way.”

Hershey will host Twin Valley in the quarterfinals Wednesday. As for the Barons, despite their loss, they aren’t out of it yet. Manheim Central will host New Oxford in the consolation semifinals.

“We know our season’s not done yet,” Briggs said. “We get a second shot and moving forward to the state playoffs. Hopefully we can win Wednesday and keep going.”

Trojans: 4

  • Goals – Gardner (2), Allery (2)
  • Assists – Avery Weaver (1), Emily Beitzel (1), Cara Cronin (1)
  • Shots – 20
  • Penalty corners – 10
  • Saves – Kylie Mullen (4)

Barons: 0

  • Goals – 0
  • Assists – 0
  • Shots – 4
  • Penalty corners – 3
  • Saves – Laci Nelson (10)

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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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