West Perry ends high school field hockey state championship run in 4-3 loss to Oley Valley

Oley Valley burned the final three minutes of its game against West Perry Tuesday to insure its 2023 PIAA Class 1A ticket was punched to the state championship game.


That was a huge clue that the Mustangs were a threat to the Lynx’s semifinal plans. West Perry knew how to battle back from a hole seeing that they landed two quick goals in the third quarter that evened the score.


The final was 4-3 Oley Valley. Oley, which will be trying to win its third PIAA Class 1A championship title, wasn’t in the last dance in 2022. Oley’s latest gold hardware was in 2000.


Throughout the 60 minutes, Oley controlled a majority of the possession and game play in the first half. Flip that around, and it was West Perry’s game to lose in the second half.


All four of Oley’s goals were scored with a partner. And, all were scored off a corner.



The Lynx started the game with a lot of energy and purposeful passes. West Perry was a little on its heels and noticeably trying to adjust its lines to match Oley’s style. Oley stretched the field, especially using flat passes, which made it easier to find the through ball.


Oley scored one in the first, two in the second and the game-winner in the fourth. The first goal was Lauren Habakus to Mia Woodard. The second Julia Wagner to Izzy Buehler. The third was Taylor Vaccaro to Ava Walters. And, the final was Molly Rothenberger to Vaccaro.


While the Lynx were able to punch in those goals, the Mustangs weren’t out of the game until the final three minutes.


Once West Perry’s back line figured out how to handle Oley’s powerful attack, they started to distribute the ball faster to the middle, where it was picked up by Jordan Byers. Molly Zimmerman, Autumn Albright, Julie Loy, Shay Dyer and Maddie Bell, among the entire Mustang squad, pushed instead of retreated.


The synergy among them worked, as Byers was able to score on her signature reverse shot twice in the third 33 seconds apart to tie the game 3 apiece. Up until that point, Oley had her heavily marked to prevent her from taking her shot.



The first West Perry goal was smashed in from outside the circle by Albright and finished by Shay Dyer. The duo scored late in the second quarter and right before halftime.


When it got down to the final minutes, and Oley had its one-point lead, the Lynx strategically called a timeout with 3:05 on the clock. The 90 seconds was enough chatter for them to decide to rundown the clock rather than use it to try to score another goal. The Lynx took the ball to its offensive endline where they protected it from West Perry.


The Mustangs end their season 22-3. It was the farthest the school’s program has competed in the PIAA Class 1A state tournament.


Oley takes on Lackawanna Trail at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School.


Oley Valley 1-1-0-2: 4

Goals: Woodard, 1; Buehler, 1; Walters, 1; Vacaaro, 1

Assists: Habakus, 1; Julia Wagner, 1; Vaccaro, 1; Rothenberger, 1

Shots: 6

Penalty Corners: 10

Saves: Megan Schaefer, 1


West Perry 0-1-2-0: 3

Goals: Dyer, 1; Byers, 2

Assists: Albright, 1; Madi Bell, 1

Shots: 4

Penalty Corners: 4

Saves: Marty Morrison, 2



Photo: Mia Woodard versus Susquenita’s goalie in the 2023 District 3 Class 1A championship game. (Bob Benscoter, November 2023) 


*This story has been updated to reflect that Shay Dyer scored the first goal for West Perry. Madison Bell assisted Jordan Byers.



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