Field hockey was tied with Lampeter-Strasburg for third place in Section Two heading into their matchup on Friday, Sept. 22, and Elizabethtown emerged victorious, 6-4.
While the game was an important one in the standings, coach Linda Sten said that she and the team did not approach this game any differently.
“I try not to adjust our play too much against who our opponent is. I just try and perfect what we do well. If we do that well, then we’re in the game. That’s what I look to do,” Sten said.
Jaide Epler, tied for the team lead in goals (6), gave Elizabethtown the lead in the fourth minute. Senior captain Hannah Doll doubled the Bears’ lead three minutes later before both sides began to settle in.
“I thought we came out really strong, which is something that we really wanted to do. We were strong, we were not intimidated by any means,” Sten said.
Lampeter-Strasburg took advantage of a corner opportunity to halve Elizabethtown’s lead late in the first half. As they did all game, however, the Bears responded quickly and reclaimed a two-goal lead. Mackenzie Hammaker was credited with the goal.
At the half, Elizabethtown lead 3-1 and had earned four corners to Lampeter-Strasburg’s two corners.
L-S opened the second half with a renewed offensive intensity and earned seven corners in the first 10 minutes of the half. Elizabethtown’s defense, anchored by goalie Hannah McConnell, held their ground and did not concede a goal.
“Our backs are just really comfortable with their play and they don’t get too excited. It’s just pretty fundamental. We don’t do anything fancy back there. We just control the ball, dribbled it out to the sides and, when you do that, it’s like muscle memory. They’re very confident in their play,” Sten said.
The first goal of the second half was eventually credited to Lampeter-Strasburg, but senior captain Sharri Kambesis (above) put one in the back of the cage two minutes later to give Elizabethtown more breathing room.
“Sharri, really, she took over the game in the center of the field. We asked her to take over and control the center and she absolutely did it. I’m really, really pleased,” Sten said.
Senior captain and starting back Abby Thomas was out with an injury and that is why Sten looked to Kambesis to control the midfield.
Lampeter-Strasburg once again scored to cut the deficit to one, but Hammaker, like Kambesis, scored two minutes later to give Elizabethtown a 5-3 lead.
Epler scored her second of the game and Elizabethtown quickly doubled up Lampeter-Strasburg. The Pioneers scored off a corner late in the game, but it was not enough.
McConnell made 17 saves throughout the game, including a diving save in the second half.
“I thought Hannah stepped up really well. She really, really played a good game,” Sten said.
Elizabethtown finished the game with eight corners and 16 shots on goal. Lampeter-Strasburg’s goalie made nine saves while the offensive supplied 13 corners and 21 shots on goal.
Hannah Mink led the team in assists while Epler, Hammaker and Maya Fanus each had one assist.