WHITEHALL — It was the greatest mulligan in Wyoming Seminary history.
Rebecca Schulman enjoyed the greatest three minutes of her field hockey career after her swing and miss, threading a pass through the circle to set up the state championship-winning goal by Gabby Grossman as Wyoming Seminary stunned previously unbeaten Crestwood, 2-1, in the PIAA Class 2A title game Saturday.
“The winning goal … I had no idea,” Blue Knights coach Karen Klassner said. “I didn’t see it. At that point, we’re talking about going to seven aside.
“The difference today was the two wings scored. Schulman and Grossman. We’ve been working on that. We knew scoring was our issue all season.”
“We’ve won three of the last four years now,” Sem senior Molly Turner said. “It’s an amazing feeling to win like this. Not many schools have done this.”
Madison Dowd started the play with a long free hit in Sem territory, connecting with Morgan Malone. Schulman then chased down a perfect lead pass from Malone near the end line on the left wing. But her first attempt to center the ball came up empty.
“I tried to reverse and missed,” Schulman said. “I’m looking down at the ball going, ‘oh, my goodness, please don’t go over the end line.’ I got to it and Gabby was at the post. I knew she was there.”
Schulman corralled the ball before it could trickle across the end line. She set her feet and pushed a pass through the goal mouth. It eluded a cluster of players in front and landed on the stick of Grossman, who pumped the ball home for her first gold medal.
“We’ve been working on it all year and I knew she has a great hit,” Grossman said. “I knew what my job was, which was to get in and go for the tip. I cut in right when I saw her hit it. There was someone there after the ball came through, but I had cut in front of them. That’s the play we knew we had to finish on, and we did.”
“In practice, she does that a lot,” Malone said of Schulman faking a cross. “It threw me for a second when she made that first try.”
The Blue Knights (18-6-1) had to rally after Crestwood (24-1) opened the scoring. Casey Cole intercepted a pass near midfield and played the ball ahead to Elizabeth Dessoye. The sophomore led the rush across the 25 and was fouled. Dessoye kept the play going, slipping the ball through traffic to Marissa Surdy inside the circle. Instead of shooting, Surdy sent the ball to Maury Cronauer, who was to the side of the challenging Mackenzie Gagliardi in goal.
Cronauer rattled the backboard in the 37th minute to put the Comets ahead.
“The opportunities were there,” Crestwood coach Elvetta Gemski said. “We were close. Its not the outcome we hoped for, but we enjoyed the journey. It’s a journey we are proud of.”
Sem had a couple of corners and an unanswered crossing pass while trying to tie the game, then Rebecca Weinstock found an answer. She sent a soft pass across the goal, where Schulman went down to a knee to fire home the tying marker.
“Rebecca Weinstock hit it to me,” Schulman said. “I was like, ‘it’s coming, it’s coming,’ and I got it in there.”
To go along with her goal and her assist, it was Schulman who ran out the clock, making a steal with 20 seconds remaining and rushing solo upfield. A Comets foul netted a penalty corner, which allowed Sem to begin celebrating its third title in four years.
A wild first half saw both teams with great chances in the first 15 minutes, followed by a more controlled 15 minutes that led the teams to halftime scoreless.
Lefkowitz went 50 yards after a steal, getting behind the Comets defense but pushing the ball wide of an open goal. Hunter Pitman did the same for Crestwood, taking the ball at the midfield stripe and racing in alone on Gagliardi, who made the save.
“I think we were just really unlucky,” Surdy said. “We had a couple of opportunities to put it in and we didn’t. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
The Blue Knights opened with a flurry, getting a pair of corners and shots from Malone, Lefkowitz and Molly Turner, all of which were handled by Comets goalie Dallas Kendra. Crestwood’s best chance might have come on a corner, as Surdy’s shot from the arc was tipped by Morgan Kile. Gagliardi made the save and the rebound was directed wide by Cronauer.
PIAA Class 2A championship
Wyoming Seminary 2, Crestwood 1
Second half — 1. CRE, Maury Cronauer (Marissa Surdy), 23:45; 2. SEM, Rebecca Schulman (Rebecca Weinstock), 16:31; 3. SEM, Gabby Grossman (Schulman), 3:00.
Shots — SEM 12; CRE 19. Saves — SEM 13 (Mackenzie Gagliardi); CRE 6 (Dallas Kendra). Penalty corners — SEM 8; CRE 10. Long corners — SEM 4; CRE 2. Player advantages — SEM 0 of 0; CRE 0 of 0. Defensive saves — SEM, Isabella DelPriore, Madison Dowd. Penalty corners earned — SEM, Mallory Lefkowitz 2, Alexis Quick, Morgan Malone, Molly Turner, Grossman, Weinstock, Schulman; CRE, Cronauer 3, Surdy 2, Elizabeth Dessoye 2, Hannah Ackers, Hunter Pitman, Morgan Kile.