‘We’re playing some of the best hockey we have played all season,’ Lower Dauphin’s Katelyn Strawser on 7-0 regular season finale versus Selinsgrove

Within five minutes of the first quarter, Lower Dauphin notched three goals flattening Selinsgrove’s defense.

The Thursday night competition was the last for the Falcons and Seals before the postseason.

“This is the toughest schedule that we’ve had,” Selinsgrove’s head coach Roz Erb said.

Lower Dauphin junior Katelyn Strawser couldn’t resist herself at the onset. She slyly snuck into the circle neglecting to make herself known and smashed a shot into the backboard. Shortly after her goal, junior Avery Pollock wanted her chance. So, she flexed her muscle on a corner quickly making it 2-0.

Only 30 seconds later, Strawser passed her practical exam when she turned a play that had been rehearsed during the week into action. A searingly fast-paced Emmy McCulley drive was sent toward post. Strawser fearlessly popped out in front of it and opened her blade, which deflected the ball up and over the goalie.

“We’ve been preparing for that recently in practice,” Strawser said after the game. “We’ve been doing that exact play with the hit in, and we cut across from the far post. So, it was really cool to see something from practice being used in the game.”

It was a fast start. Selinsgrove had to take a 90-second timeout to catch its breath and make a goalie substitution.

Selinsgrove is Class 2A in District 4 but plays in District 2/4 sub-regional for playoffs. The Seals went 11-7 on the season. Lower Dauphin is Class 3A in District 3 and finished 14-3-1.


Once back on the pitch, Strawser took another shot that was blocked. And Pollock ripped one that went wide to end the first.

Carly Aument tried to get Selinsgrove into the game in the second. She had short-lived runs down the sidelines but was stopped by Lower Dauphin’s defense.

“She has top-notch speed and can usually put pressure on people in the back field,” Erb said. “It was a little difficult tonight with the skills she was facing in there. I thought maybe we could make a couple runs on them, but we were just a little shook from the get-go, from such a great start that Lower Dauphin had.”

Vivian Merry, a senior who is attending Stevenson University next year, scored next for the Falcons.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my teammate Hannah McConnell,” Merry said. “She gave me a great pass. And I was able to just shoot it in.”

Merry hustled all evening and was found in front of the goalie attempting to tack on more points.

Strawser, who at this point, needed no introduction, provided another example of ‘how to play top-level hockey.’ Selinsgrove had the ball in its offensive 25.

Lower Dauphin’s backfield worked the ball out and down the middle to find a transition pass that went straight to Strawser. Strawser was inside the circle.

She set up her shot and barely adjusted her feet to set off a chip shot that sailed perfectly into the air. Strawser did all of it without hesitation. When it went in, it silenced the Falcons for a moment, who were all in awe before they began cheering.

“I wasn’t expecting it to go in at all,” Strawser said.

She later added: “I think, honestly, just entering the postseason, we’re playing some of the best hockey we have played all season. We want to keep that going. So, I think that’s mainly the driving force for all of this.”

Lower Dauphin has been in a rebuilding year trying to place players in the positions that best suit their skills. Their game play has been a gradual offensive crescendo that they want to sustain for a few more weeks.

The Falcon’s team dynamic has improved, which could also be seen in players like Maddy Weaver, who distributed numerous passes all evening. Weaver is attending the University of Vermont next year.

Merry, who had an assist in addition to her goal, said it felt good to play as a team.

“I felt like Selinsgrove always had a girl on me,” Merry said. “I was trying to find space or (was) looking for a teammate who was finding space. (The game) was a little sentimental.”

Strawser’s final tally was three goals, but her teammates kept the wheels turning. Victoria Kutz, in the back, who recently committed to Ohio State, prevented many plays from crossing the 50. And, when it did get by her, Falcons’ goalie Kai Killian was there to stop shots like a boss.

Katelyn Miller and Bridget Lawn slammed in the final goals for Lower Dauphin. They were both on corners, where they took fancy show-off shots, also known as, quick, low, and reverse stick.

Selinsgrove was seeking this type of game, Erb said. She told her girls at halftime, the score was “irrelevant.”

“I really wanted us to have to compete a little bit better defensively,” she said. “I wanted us to try to take a page out of their playbook to play with a little bit more ball possession – transfer balls instead of taking everything right up the middle.”

The Seals “were very nervous” coming into Hummelstown.

“This is the first time that we’ve ever, ever played Lower Dauphin,” Erb said. “This is our 59th year of field hockey and we’ve never played them before. They know the storied tradition they have. They have respect for that. It was eye-opening for them to see that skill. I wish them lots of luck in their district play.”

West Perry recently gave Lower Dauphin a good game. The final score was 3-2 Falcons. It helped the coaching staff discover some more tweaks.

“They played really well tonight,” head coach Linda Kreiser said. “The passing looked really good. I was so pleased. We had a tough game Tuesday against West Perry. I think we talked about things after the game, and they put it into this game. We have nine seniors and we got to play all nine seniors and they played well.”

Selinsgrove is a program that Kreiser also respects. Many of the players play for PA Power, a club program located in Selinsgrove.

“I knew we’d have a great game because they are always competitive and very skilled,” Kreiser said.

Improvement is what she said she’s been looking for and that’s what’s showing up.

“In the postseason, every game is a battle, and you have to show up,” Kreiser said. “You have to play your best hockey. We’re excited for the challenge and we’re ready to get started on Wednesday.”

Falcons: 7

  • Goals – Katelyn Strawser (3), Avery Pollock (1), Vivian Merry (1), Katelyn Miller (1), Bridget Lawn (1)
  • Assists – Pollock (1), Brynn Crouse (1), Emmy McCulley (2), Merry (1), Laney Johns (1)
  • Shots – 15
  • Penalty corners – 13
  • Saves – Kai Killian (3)

Seals: 0

  • Goals – 0
  • Assists – 0
  • Shots – 3
  • Penalty corners – 1
  • Saves – Katie Varner (6), Bella Auman (1), Emily Gelnett (1)
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