Site updated 11/12/13 11:02 AM Upper Dauphin Sentinel ©2006
In their first-ever appearance in a district final, the top-seeded Halifax Wildcats went the distance -- and then some -- with Berks County-based Tulpehocken, the defending district champ as well as a state quarterfinalist in 2012.
After remaining scoreless for 110 minutes (two 40-minute regulation and two 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods), the match was decided by the only other remaining option: penalty kicks.
With Tulpehocken ahead 3-2 on
PK’s, Trojan keeper Jamie Fisher stopped Halifax’s next kick attempt.
Like Mercutio’s mortal wound, Fisher’s save may not have been very
dramatic, but it served its purpose.
Moreover, the Wildcats -- also for the first time in the program’s history -- have qualified for the PIAA Class A state tournament and are scheduled to play Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. at Wallenpaupack High School in Pike County. Their opponent is Mountain View, the District 2-A champion.
Downcast as the mood was on the Halifax side after the match, Head Coach Jan Hoffner said she had no regrets about the whole experience, saying she felt the Wildcats more than held their own against a quality program.
“They are definitely a very good team,’’ she said of the Trojans.
‘‘I’d like to think we surprised
them,’’ she added. ‘‘The Tri-Valley League usually doesn’t get much
respect on this side of the mountain. We wanted to represent the league
and certainly represent the school well, and I think (the ’Cats) just
played wonderfully. From top to bottom, I couldn’t ask for more.’’
No defense, no chance. Lack of scoring in the match didn’t mean a lack of scoring opportunities. Tulpehocken, in fact, was at or near the cage several times in the match’s first 10 minutes and Wildcat keeper Brianna Turner was credited with 12 saves for the night.
Halifax responded early with two tries by Kristina Kelley -- a 20-yarder and a direct kick.
Halifax itself posted 11 shots on
goal and, according to Hoffner, was able to get scoring opportunities
only by improving its defensive performance as compared to the D3-A
semifinal match earlier this week.
The final outcome also may not have shown how much Halifax returned to what’s been a strength all season -- winning the ball and keeping it.
‘‘It was such a high-intensity game, it was tough to play possession, but when Tulpehocken started to get tired, we did get possession and I was happy about that,’’ Hoffner said.
The high-intensity match had more than its share of physical contact. One incident late in the second period sent Turner briefly to the sidelines when she met a shot attempt and collided with a speeding Trojan. She returned in time to play through both of the sudden-death periods and the penalty kick phase.
With no scoring in either OT period -- Kayla Kelley’s header struck the goal cage crossbar and Tulpehocken shots went wide or above the cage -- the teams traded penalty kick rounds.
Halifax had a 1-0 lead after two rounds and went up 2-1 after three. The Trojans tied it up, then went ahead to set up Fisher’s match-winning save. Ironically, Tulpehocken had lost on penalty kicks in the Berks League semifinals earlier in October.
As states loomed, Hoffner hoped the outcome would in some way inspire the ’Cats to succeed at the state level.
‘‘I think they realize, ‘This
title could have been ours,’ and maybe we could do something in states,’
and hopefully that will fire them up,’’ she said.
Halifax 3, Fairfield 2, Oct. 28. Kayla Kelley got the ’Cats on the board at 16:24 on an assist from Mallori Bingman. Kelley then passed to Rylee Gonsar with about 13 minutes left before halftime to give Halfax a 2-1 edge.
Hannah Logue had both of
Fairfield’s scores -- at 28:45 in the opening frame and 9:23 in the