KINGSTON — The potential for distraction ran rampant in the Spartan Stadium stands.
Waving right on the front railing were a line of balloons, part of the festivities for Wyoming Valley West’s annual field hockey Pink Game to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.
Up in the bleachers, a large group of players and coaches from Wyoming Seminary assembled en masse, a constant reminder of the battle of unbeatens waiting right around the corner for Valley West.
The Spartans weren’t watching.
Foto Tsoiles scored twice in the second half Thursday, Mercedes Jasterzenski, Madison Woods and Karaline Stelma all added a goal and an assist, and Valley West had little problem whipping through Wyoming Area, 6-0, to remain tied at the top of the WVC Division 1.
“We obviously have short-term goals and long-term goals,” said Woods, a University of Pennsylvania-bound senior co-scorer-turned-defensman who is one of Valley West’s captains. “We have to remind ourselves to focus on one game at a time. Our team does an excellent job of that.
“The score shows it.”
Not that the Spartans weren’t aware of what was going on around them.
The Pink Game is always special to Valley West, which holds a popular raffle and donates proceeds to area charities.
“It’s a special night,” Valley West coach Linda Fithian said. “You’re not only playing for your school, but for all the (cancer) victims. It’s good to see all the teams doing it.”
Woods couldn’t agree more, adding, “Breast cancer has afflicted so many people in the world. It’s good to play in games like these to make a bigger difference, as a whole.”
It seemed like the whole Sem team was at Spartan Stadium, sitting across from the Spartans bench while watching and waiting for Monday’s 7 p.m. showdown with Valley West at Sem’s Klassner Field. With the Spartans improving to 11-0 and Sem standing at 10-0, the game will likely decide the WVC Division 1 title, since the next-best teams have two losses with less than five games remaining in the regular season.
“I think it’s flattering, that they’re coming here to scout us out,” Woods said. “But we’re always focused on the game and team we’re playing. And nothing else. We have a certain standard as a team. We want to play to that standard.”
Mostly, the Spartans concentrated on the cage.
Rina Tsioles found it first, off an assist by Woods on a penalty corner under six minutes into the game, then Rina Tsioles fed Jasterzenski for a goal as the Spartans took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
They ended the suspense by scoring four goals in just over eight minutes during the second half. Foto Tsioles powered home a couple of thunder-and-lightning shots that came just 1:24 apart. Then Woods, a former main scorer who switched to the defensive end for her senior season, pushed in the team’s last goal to set the final score with 15:14 to play.
“I love to score. Who doesn’t?” Woods asked. “Whenever you are on the field, the goal is to score. But it’s also very exciting playing defense, as well.”
Speaking of defense, the Spartans were dominant.
They held Wyoming Area without a single shot, and Valley West’s midfielders made sure most of Thursday’s game was battled in the Warriors’ territory.
“Oh, our defense,” Fithian exclaimed. “We love our defense.”
It’s a big part of the reason why Valley West has won all 11 of its regular-season games, and why Wyoming Area slipped to 8-3 with its second straight loss of the week — and out of a tie for second place in Division 1.
“I think it has to do with the fact our forwards and mids are so awesome blocking up the lanes,” Woods said. “But it’s good to have a backfield defense.”
Holy Redeemer 5,
McKenna Dolan scored three goals for a hat trick, and Leah Mullery scored one and assisted two goals as the Royals moved to 10-0 and clinched their second consecutive WVC Division 2 title.
Redeemer extended its league winning streak to 22 consecutive games over the past two seasons, and will try to wrap up and unbeaten season and clinch the top seed for the District 2 Class A playoffs over its final two games..
Berwick’s Jackie Nevel made 19 saves in goal.
Wyoming Valley West 6, Wallenpaupack 0
Wyoming Valley West’s Cameron Forgash led the Spartans with two goals in the first half as Valley West rolled in a game played Monday.
Mercedes Jasterzinski and Karoline Stelma scored a goal in the first half as the Spartans took a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Wyoming Valley West 6, Wyoming Area 0
Wyoming Valley West`2`4`—`6
First half — 1. WVW, Rina Tsioles (Madison Woods), 23:17; 2. WVW, Mercedes Jasterzenski (Rina Tsioles), 9:19. Second half — 3. WVW, Karaline Stelma (Jasterzenski), 23:24; 4. WVW, Foto Tsioles, 19:17; 5. WVW, Foto Tsioles (Emily Latoski), 17:53; 6. WVW, Woods (Stelma), 15:14.
Shots — WA 0; WVW 27. Saves — WA 18 (Ellie Glatz); WVW 0 (Nikki Hartzel, Sydney Rusnock). Penalty corners — WA 0; WVW 15.
Holy Redeemer 5, Berwick 0
Holy Redeemer`3`2 —`5
First half — 1. HR, Leah Mullery (Lauren Mullery), 13:59; 2. HR, McKenna Dolan (Leah Mullery), 12:39; 3. HR, Addison Bielski (Kayla Kruk), 4:25. Second half — 4. HR, Dolan (Kruk), 24:45; 5. HR, Dolan (Leah Mullery), 14:10.
Shots — HR 25; BER 1. Saves — HR 1 (Meredythe Baird); BER 19 (Jackie Nevel). Penalty corners — HR 7; BER 4.