Sunday, July 13, 2014

Seniors rise to the occassion

February 19. 2013 6:06PM
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WHITEHALL -- After the celebration, as Crestwood left the playing area, underclassmen are usually charged with bringing items to the bus.

The state championship trophy? Well, that's the duty of a senior captain.

It's actually really heavy, Rachael Ritz said after Crestwood's 1-0 win Saturday in the PIAA Class 2A field hockey final. But it feels so good. We're all ... it just hasn't hit us yet. It's amazing.

Ritz and Chandler Ackers, the other senior captain, were key to the victory.

Both defend against corners and Ackers starts offensive corners -- including the game-winner by Marissa Surdy.

Ackers was impressive jumping up to join the offense, cutting off outlet passes and either dribbling through traffic back toward the circle or sending balls ahead for teammates in scoring areas.

She had a nice play shielding top scorer Megan Parsons from a run at the goal in the first half and made a key stop of Amelia Iacobucci on a rush late in the game.

Ackers was also more involved in the offense. While the Comets worked a corner to her at the post in the second half -- a diving stop from goalie Erika Miller was all that kept it a one-goal game -- the senior was also handling the ball inside the offensive circle, even dribbling in along the end line from the wing at one point.

There wasn't a change in gameplan, though.

Not really, Ackers said. I just basically said we're not going to lose today and I am going to do whatever I can to help us.

Ritz was big charging from the end line and breaking up a couple of Villa corners. But she was strong defensively in the field as well.

She took Caroline Mackrides, the hero of Villa's semifinal win, off the ball on the left wing when they were 1-on-1 in the first half. Late in the game, her, Hannah Ackers, Morgan Kile and Casey Cole, teamed to cut off outlet pass after outlet pass.

The highlight on the day for Ritz, though, had to be a play in the final 90 seconds of the first half. With Villa threatening, a Comet played the ball toward the end line. Ritz hustled and slid on a knee to sweep the ball toward the sideline and avoid a momentum-shifting corner right before halftime.

Actually, while that was a great play, surely the highlight of the day for both Ritz and Ackers was ending their high school field hockey careers by lifting that heavy state championship trophy over their heads.

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