Playing for the first time in two weeks, the Elizabethtown field hockey team gave up a goal 25 seconds into its District Three playoff matchup and was not able to recover as they lost to East Pennsboro 3-1.
The Bears traveled to Kreiser-Hallman Field at Lower Dauphin Middle School to play the Panthers, who were ranked No. 3 with a 17-2 record. Despite falling behind in the first minute, coach Linda Sten said that the team responded “really well” to the game’s opening goal.
After East Pennsboro staked themselves to a 1-0 lead, the Bears nearly responded when Sharri Kambesis sent an aerial on goal that went over the Panthers goalie, but a defensive save kept the Bears off the scoreboard.
“The one girl made an incredible save,” Sten said.
East Pennsboro went on to score twice in a four-minute span as the first half came to a close and led Elizabethtown 3-0 at halftime.
With seven minutes gone in the second half, the Bears got their first, and only, goal of the game from Jaide Epler. The junior, who is responsible for inserting on Elizabethtown’s corners, turned on a pass from a Abby Thomas and her shot found the back of the cage.
Elizabethtown nearly cut the deficit in half as Kambesis again sent an aerial over the head of Panthers goalie, only to be denied by a defensive save.
“Individually, everyone played their best game. As a team, they played their best game of the season. We’re just really proud of them,” Sten said. “It’s just really sad that they had to play that hard and didn’t win.”
Elizabethtown returned to the District Playoffs after a one-year hiatus and Sten reflected back on her time as a volunteer two years ago, before coming out of retirement to coach the team.
“Most of these girls were sophomores then and that’s when I got to know them. Last year, everybody but one player was new to varsity and they worked really hard and we really had a high expectation for this year,” Sten said. “We made it to districts and they worked really hard all summer and offseason to get to this point and we just didn’t finish.”