EMMAUS — A change of pace altered the course of Coughlin’s season.
A redirected drive with 6:09 remaining was the only goal of the game, lifting Penn Manor to a 1-0 victory over the Crusaders in the PIAA Class 3A field hockey quarterfinals Saturday.
The victory sends Penn Manor (23-2-1) into a Tuesday semifinal against Lower Dauphin, a state title favorite. Coughlin sees its season end with a 13-6 record.
“We were a little frustrated (offensively),” Penn Manor coach Matt Soto said. “That’s a credit to their defense. (Coughlin) has good, strong corners.”
M’Kensie Lee also had the game of her life in goal for the Crusaders, making 13 saves. Only once during her first season as a starter did she make more stops.
Those saves kept this one from becoming a two- or three-goal deficit. The Comets had 15 penalty corners and they got off quality shots on eight of them.
“The more you’re down there, the worse your chances are,” Wood said.
In the first half, Lee got a boot on a Rachel Suter blast and turned aside a tough point-blank shot by Kayla Herr. After the break, play turned more in Penn Manor’s favor, but Lee remained a wall.
Brooke DeBerdine led a rush up the wing, centering to Brianna Kline behind the defense. Lee slid across to make a split save with her right boot. Five minutes later, she did another split, making a left leg stop of a tipped shot by DeBerdine.
“She’s going to be really good if she’s only a sophomore,” Soto said of Lee. “She showed some good decision-making, coming out on the ball and positionally.”
The only ball to get past Lee came on a corner late in the second half. Cassie Kline inserted the ball to Suter at the top of the circle. Instead of firing a blast at Lee, Suter sent a soft pass to Lee’s right, where a waiting Herr steered it into the net.
Coughlin started like it had played all of its playoffs — inside the opposing circle racking up corners. With 61 penalty corners in three postseason games, the Crusaders were near that pace with five in the first 17 minutes.
They nearly netted the game’s first goal, as Kelsey Gabriele had a pair of great chances stopped by keeper Desiree Landis and Katie Colleran’s redirection of a Kyra Lukashewski shot skipped by the post wide.
“We had quite a few chances, but a team like them — a very strong team — you need to score,” Wood said. “Offensively, we had some chances.”
The Crusaders were then held 19 minutes without a shot, though the bulk of the game was played between the 25s. Kyra Castano had two shots from in tight midway through the second half, but a challenging Landis came out to make two point-blank saves.
“As the season progressed, they gained confidence,” Wood said. “They worked hard, played a lot of overtimes. We really struggled with scoring, but they did pick it up. It was a good group and it’s going to be tough to replace our five starting seniors.”
Castano, Keighlyn Oliver and the back line of Colleran, Sarah Zbierski and Dominique Oko all completed their high school careers in the loss.
PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal
Penn Manor 1, Coughlin 0
Second half — 1. PM, Kayla Herr (Rachel Suter), 6:09.
Shots — PM 16; COU 9. Saves — PM 7 (Desiree Landis); COU 13 (M’Kensie Lee). Penalty corners — PM 15; COU 8. Long corners — PM 3; COU 4. Player advantages — PM 0 of 1; COU 0 of 0.