District 2 announced significant changes to its field hockey playoffs Tuesday and the Wyoming Valley Conference was realigned to reflect the new format.
The Class 3A district tournament remains as a five-team event, as it has been the past two seasons. But in Class 2A, there will only be eight teams in the district bracket.
Also gone are the Division 1, 2 and 3 designations for the regular-season standings. Divisions 1 and 2, where teams played each other once during the season, are now Division 1 Class 3A and Division 1 Class 2A. Division 3, which has all Class 2A members, is now referred to as Division 2.
The Class 2A playoffs will feature seven of the eight teams from its Division 1, which is the same number of entries as in recent years. They will be seeded 1 through 7.
The eighth seed will be the now Division 2 champion – a nine-team loop in which teams face each other twice.
Two places in the Class 2A tourney that had been awarded to the second- and third-place teams in what is now Division 2 have been dropped. Those teams used to play the second- and third-place teams in the old Division 2.
"This changes everything," said Pittston Area coach Caitlin Hadzimichalis, whose team qualified for the postseason in each of her first two seasons with the Patriots. "You have to go out and win every game you can. You have got to be consistent. It definitely applies a little more pressure every game."
Meyers moved down to Division 2 this season to expand the loop, not knowing its playoff chances would be diminished. And games like Tuesday's Tunkhannock at Pittston Area matchup have greater importance, as they are two of the four teams within a game of first place in Division 2.
"OK. You know what? The best team needs to earn it. That's all," Tunkhannock coach Ashlie Lewis said. "We have some tough games ahead, games like (against Pittston Area on Tuesday), that are going to mean a lot."
Last season went down to the final week in the division race, and the top-three teams finished a game behind each other. With the parity this season, anyone could earn the playoff spot.
"There are already a lot of tight games (in the division)," Hadzimichalis said. "This will definitely bring up the level of competition even more, not like there wasn't competition already. There could even end up being a tiebreaker."
At least some Division 2 teams took the field Tuesday unaware of the changes to the postseason. They refused to let the new format change the game plan the rest of the way.
"One of our goals coming into the season was to make the playoffs," Lewis said. "We're still going to work as hard as we can to try to get it."
In 12 playoff games over four seasons, teams from the old Division 3 had three wins – two in 2008 and one in 2009.
ROYALS LISTED: Holy Redeemer made the national rankings for the first time, earning a spot among 12 honorable mention teams in the topofthecircle.com Top 10.
Wyoming Seminary is also listed in the section called "And bear in mind." Crestwood was dropped from the list, but at 9-1 is still very much in contention to reappear.
SHOOTING STAR: Selina Garzio of Hazleton Area powered the Cougars to three wins last week after their 0-3 start.
The sophomore scored 11 goals in wins over Wallenpaupack, Abington Heights and Lackawanna Trail to join Coughlin's Madysen Jones as the area's leading goal scorers with 12.
|Division 1 Class 3A||Rec||GF||GA|
|Wyoming Valley West||5-3||32||14|
|Division 1 Class 2A||Rec||GF||GA|