WILKES-BARRE -- When they played during the season, Wyoming Seminary wasn't able to break through against Holy Redeemer, getting shut out in overtime.
Thursday, the Blue Knights broke through early and played a game worthy of a trip to the state tournament in a 3-1 victory over the Royals in the District 2 Class 2A field hockey semifinals at Hollenback Park.
I couldn't imagine not being in states, Sem junior Mallory Lefkowitz said. We've worked very hard to get back and that game against Lehman (a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals), I think that game gave us a boost.
Sem (12-6-1) will face Crestwood on Tuesday for the district championship. Redeemer (14-3) sees its season end a win shy of its first trip to states.
What a game! Our kids came to play, Sem coach Karen Klassner said. Their team played great as well. It's a shame someone had to lose. They are the top seed; they beat us before. That's a very good team over there.
The game was not even two minutes old when the Blue Knights earned a penalty corner. Morgan Malone injected the ball to Kristen Mericle, who sent a reverse-stick shot toward the cage. It was knocked down in front by the Royals' defense, but Lefkowitz was not going to be denied.
I was watching the ball, Lefkowitz said. I trusted Morgan and Kristen, and I knew the corner. Once I saw the ball there for me, I could hear the coaches during practice, ‘Kill the ball!' So I put it in the back of the goal as hard as I could.
The first half continued with play fairly even, though the scoreboard would continue to tilt toward Sem. Mericle got the ball to Lefkowitz on another corner only to have the shot turned aside by Redeemer goalie Selena Malacari.
In a crowded circle, Lefkowitz made a deft, almost no-look pass of about 2 yards past a defender to Julia Grosek, who tucked the ball under Malacari for a two-goal lead.
It was almost like that we had that planned, Lefkowitz said. It came off the goaltender right at me. I tipped it over to her and she just put it past their goalie.
Greta Ell converted a penalty stroke with a shot to the top corner on the stick side for a shorthanded goal with 15 minutes remaining.
I felt like we dominated the second half, Royals coach Juliann DeFalco said. We just didn't get the ball into the cage. We didn't start well. And we really had a hard time getting the ball in the cage.
Down a goal and a player, Redeemer continued to press for the tying goal, only to be thwarted and have the Blue Knights score in transition. Molly Turner took the ball from a Royals player inside the Sem circle, charged ahead and outletted to Leftkowitz. The junior then sent a long pass to Malone in stride.
Malone dished ahead to Rebecca Weinstock in the middle of the field, then took a return pass just inside the Redeemer circle on the right wing. Malone fired a ball from near the end line that squeaked through for a power-play tally to ice the victory for Sem.
First half: 1. SEM, Mallory Lefkowitz (Kristen Mericle), 28:03; 2. SEM, Julia Grosek (Lefkowitz), 15:55. Second half: 3. HR, Greta Ell (penalty stroke), 15:50; 4. SEM, Morgan Malone (Rebecca Weinstock), 13:57.
Shots: SEM 9, HR 11. Saves: SEM 6 (Hannah Dressler), HR 6 (Selena Malacari). Corners: SEM 5, HR 8.