WRIGHT TWP. – For veterans like Chandler Ackers, Marissa Surdy and Casey Cole, Crestwood's 6-0 victory over Wyoming Area was the ticket to another shot at state gold.
For newcomers to the Comets' lineup like Elizabeth Dessoye, Hannah Ackers and Ashleigh Thomas, the victory in the District 2 Class 2A field hockey semifinal opens a whole new chapter in their high school careers.
When this season began, I was a little nervous starting for the first time, said Dallas Kendra, a sophomore who in her first year as a starter has 13 shutouts. But I'm feeling pretty good now. I'm really excited we're going to states.
The Warriors (7-9) had a good start, getting the game's first two shots and a penalty corner before Crestwood (18-2) tilted the field in its favor. Wyoming Area withstood the barrage for nearly 15 minutes, but the Comets finally broke through.
Surdy scored twice in 31 seconds by pouncing on rebounds, followed by a Cole reverse-stick rocket less than three minutes later. The goals kept coming as Surdy had a hat trick less than eight minutes after her first goal of the night, tapping in a centering pass from another veteran, Maury Cronauer, in traffic.
Daniella Callaghan had her fourth playoff goal on a corner after the first half had expired.
It was a challenge, Kendra said of the early Warriors attack. My defense really helped me. And once we got those first two goals, I knew no one would let up.
Kendra was a wall in goal for the Comets, making six saves for the second consecutive game. She had three saves in the first three minutes, keeping Crestwood from falling behind to the upset-minded Warriors.
Rachael (Ritz) and Chandler and Megan (McCole) have a lot of experience on defense and really help me out, Kendra said.
Chandler Ackers tacked on a goal in the second half on a penalty stroke, shooting high to the glove side for a six-goal lead. It was the only goal allowed by Lexi Coolbaugh in the second half of her first start in net in six weeks. Coolbaugh made 26 saves, one away from the most by a WVC goalie this season (Lizzie Dyer of Berwick had 27 against Meyers on Sept. 11).
Crestwood will play for the district championship Tuesday against Wyoming Seminary at a site and time to be determined. Both of those teams will advance to state tournament play. For the Comets, it is their fourth consecutive trip to states.
First half: 1. CRE, Marissa Surdy, 12:09; 2. CRE, Surdy, 11:38; 3. CRE, Casey Cole, 8:58; 4. CRE, Surdy (Maury Cronauer), 4:51; 5. CRE, Daniella Callaghan (Elizabeth Dessoye), :00. Second half: 6. CRE, Chandler Ackers (penalty stroke), 16:28.
Shots: WA 6, CRE 32. Saves: WA 26 (Lexi Coolbaugh), CRE 6 (Dallas Kendra). Corners: WA 3, CRE 10.