West Perry’s offense shoots its way to a 6-1 victory over Shippensburg

It took West Perry’s field hockey squad just over 11 minutes to find the cage in its game against Shippensburg.

Ship is among the few teams within the Mid-Penn Conference that still plays on grass.

Going into Tuesday’s Colonial Division matchup, the Mustangs knew they were going to be tested. And Ship knew it was going to be a tough game.

But in the end, West Perry was able to execute its offensive strategy. They took home the 6-1 victory moving them to 6-2 overall. Shippensburg is 5-6 on the season.

While the team is used to swiftly swinging the ball on turf using its mid-and-back field players, the unpredictable bouncy surface forced them to be creative, sophomore Jordan Byers said.

“We had some really pretty goals, tipping it in, which was nice to see,” she said. “We haven’t had that too often in our other games. We did a great job adjusting to the grass.”

Byers scored three goals – two in the first and one in the third. She used her speed and vision for all three. Her third goal began on a free hit outside the circle. She carried it five into the circle, where she had space and time to take a shot.

She undercut the ball to lift it over the goalie and into the net.

Ship’s goalie, Makenzie Parson, had rejected the same shot a few minutes earlier. But this time Byers was able to put enough speed on it to earn the point.

“We have grit,” Byers said. “I think everyone works very hard on the field.”

The Mustangs were shaking off the dust from not having played on grass in quite some time, said junior Molly Zimmerman. The Villanova commit said the team is “very much used to the turf game.”

West Perry scored three of its goals in the third after the Mustangs had figured out how to play on grass.

“We were making a lot of little mistakes in the first half, which is easy to get in your head,” said Zimmerman, who had two assists in the game. “We tried to keep the energy up. I was happy that we were finishing in the circle. We struggle with that on grass sometimes.”

Building from the back line forward, head coach Wendy Byers said her team is focusing on confidence inside the circle. She said she was proud of her crew for playing their game.

“I try to put a lot of my core players in the midfield so they can distribute,” she said. “We try to be a distributing team. We’re just constantly trying to get the ball to different places so we can scatter teams.”

That movement was visible from the 50 to the 25 into the circle, where players were positioned to pass. Once the Mustangs were in the circle, they looked to the post for a player to tip. That play was executed twice with Julie Loy having the final touch.

Ship wasn’t far off from keeping up with West Perry’s expediency. The Greyhounds are a young team with only three seniors and three juniors, head coach Angie Hostetter said.

Sophomore Anna Connor and junior Olivia Lebitz stood out in the mid-and-back field lines. They prevented several Mustang presses by intercepting the ball.

Ship’s offense is hesitant to shoot, despite being at the right place at the right time and having possession.

“We’ve just got to get the ball off our sticks a little faster,” Hostetter said. “I mean, they didn’t give up. They scored in the last two minutes of the game. I’m very impressed with them. We practiced that. I told them when they are at the 25 to think, ‘shoot the ball, shoot the ball, shoot the ball.’ As young as we are, we just need some time with our stickwork.”

Lyndsey Gustafson scored Ship’s lone goal in the final minutes of the fourth.

Mustangs: 6

  • Goals – Byers (3), Olivia Bollinger (1), Loy (2)
  • Assists – Shay Dyer (3), Zimmerman (2)
  • Shots – 18
  • Penalty Corners – 6
  • Saves – Alexsa Frederick, (1)

Greyhounds: 1

  • Goals – Gustafson (1)
  • Assists – Connor (1)
  • Shots – 3
  • Penalty Corners – 2
  • Saves – Parson (9)
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