WEST PITTSTON — Throwing caution to the wind, Kayla Kiwak wound up and kept firing at the cage.
She wound up with a season-opening hat trick.
And Wyoming Area came out with a big win.
Kiwak scored the game’s first three goals, then assisted on the fourth Wednesday, as Wyoming Area clubbed Coughlin 5-0 in a Wyoming Valley Conference field hockey season opener at the Wyoming Area Field Hockey Complex.
“It was amazing,” Kiwak grinned. “I’m so happy I actually got a hat trick in the first game.
And such a welcome sight to the Warriors, who have been prodding their electrifying scorer to shoot more.
“With Kayla, we’ve been preaching to take shots more,” Wyoming Area coach Erin McGinley said. “Don’t look for the perfect shot, just get it on goal. Because anything can happen.”
It so happened Kiwak found herself in the circle with one defender to beat less than five minutes into the season, when she whistled home shot for a 1-0 Wyoming Area lead.
“I saw one defender and a wide-open shot,” Kiwak, a sophomore, said. “I just shot the ball, right into the cage.”
Her next goal was even less complicated.
One second, the ball was harmlessly on her stick. In the next instant, it was across the goal line with 17 seconds remaining in the first half after Kiwak’s quick strike that seemed to catch everyone off-guard, including herself.
“That shocked me, actually,” Kiwak said. I didn’t think I was actually going to hit the ball.”
She proved to be a big hit in the second half, too.
Kiwak closed in and angled a laser across the goal line for her third unassisted tally, giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead with just over 21 minutes remaining.
And later in the second half, Kiwak rocketed an insert that Lauren Parente tipped in for the game’s fourth goal.
“We do a lot of passing drills at practice,” Kiwak said. “We work really well as a team and have really good chemistry.”
That made for a lackluster league opener for Coughlin, a storied field hockey program which is starting its final season before the three Wilkes-Barre Area schools combined into one next year.
“I just want to let them know they played a really good game,” Kiwak said of the Crusaders. “They were really a challenge.”
Alana Aufiere scored the final goal for the Warriors and Ellie Glatz made nine saves between the pipes to preserve the shutout.
“Ellie had a great game,” McGinley said. “I’m very pleased. Our team is very young. But our team has worked very hard. They worked their butts off for the whole year. I think that showed in the second half. They put their heart and soul on the field.”
Holy Redeemer 1,
Hazleton Area 0
McKenna Dolan scored little more than 10 minutes into the game and Meredythe Baird made it stand up with 12 saves as the Royals won their debut in the WVC Division 1.
The victory stretched Redeemer’s league winning streak to 25 consecutive games, including two 12-0 seasons that took the Royals to WVC Division 2 titles in 2016 and 2017.
Jenna Corra made 10 saves for Hazleton Area.
Nanticoke Area 1,
Laniez Betances took a feed from Erin Leonard and scored midway through the second half as GAR opened its WVC season by forging a tied with the Trojans.
Veronica Panko scored with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half to give Nanticoke Area a 1-0 lead.
Reilly Holden made 12 saves for GAR and Lexy Nicholas stopped three shots for Nanticoke Area as the teams played scoreless through overtime.
Valley West 4,
Karaline Stelma scored twice and dished out the season’s first assist as the defending District 2 Class 2A Spartans opened the season with a convincing win.
Emily Latoski scored Valley West’s first goal off a feed from Stelma just over five minutes into the season, then Stelma scored twice in the second half to help the Spartans expand a 1-0 halftime advantage.
Rina Tsioles also scored in the second half and Emily Latoski and Elisabeth Luff had assists as the Spartans built a 4-0 lead.
Sarah Meyer scored for Honesdale to break the shutout bid.
Wyoming Sem 10,
Abington Heights 0
Hannah Maxwell scored the season’s first three goals and ended up with five for the day as the defending WVC Division 1 and District 2 Class A champ Blue Knights blazed to victory.
Maxwell also added two assists.
Aubrey Mytych scored twice in the win, Alex Wesneski added a goal and two assists and Kelsey Reznick finished with a goal and an assist.
Sem’s defense made things easy for goalie Mia Magnotta, who stopped the lone shot against her to preserve the shutout.
Mackenna Thorpe stopped eight shots for the Comets.
Hanover Area 4,
Sara Whitesell hit two first-half goals and Sharon Monahan finished with a pair of assists as the Hawkeyes got off to a strong start by souring Tunkhannock’s Division 2 debut.
Sophia Burke scored unassisted for the Tigers to cut Hanover Area’s lead to a goal, but Megan Davis and Jessica Misson scored in the second half to wrap up victory for the Hawkeyes.
Pittston Area 0
Hannah Yanovich began her seven-goal day with the game’s first three scores and the Mountaineers mowed down the Patriots.
Grace Young hit a hat trick in the victory, Yanovich dished out a pair of assists and Shannon Barrett finished with a goal and an assist.
Delaware Valley 0
Ava Radel got the Black Knights off to a fast start with a pair of first-half goals as Lehman controlled the victory.
Amy Supey made five saves to record the shutout, after Radel struck twice in a 15-minute span. Alana Antonello added the final goal for Lehman.
Emily Festa stopped nine shots for the Warriors.
Wyoming Area 5, Coughlin 0
Coughlin`0`0 — 0
Wyoming Area`2`3 — 5
First half — 1. WA, Kayla Kiwak, 25:38; 2. WA, Kiwak, 0:17. Second half — 3. WA, Kiwak, 21:05; 4. WA, Lauren Parente (Kiwak), 7:53; 5. WA, Alana Aufiere (Kari Melberger), 1:27.
TEAM, Scorer (assist), time.
Shots — COU 9; WA 12. Saves — COU 7 (Briannah Lee); WA 9 (Ellie Glatz). Penalty corners — COU 6; WA 8.
Holy Redeemer 1, Hazeton Area 0
Hazleton Area`0`0 — 0
Holy Redeemer`1`0 — 1
First half — 1. HR, McKenna Dolan, 19:18.
Shots — HAZ 12; HR 11. Saves — HAZ 10 (Jenna Corra); HR 10 (Meredythe Baird). Penalty corners — HAZ 4; HR 6.
Nanticoke Area 1, GAR 1
Nanticoke Area`1`0`0 — 1
GAR`0`1`0 — 1
First half — 1. NAN, Veronica Penko, 12:12. Second half — 2. GAR, Laniez Betances (Erin Leonard), 16:40.
Shots — NAN 13; GAR 4. Saves — NAN 3 (Lexy Nicholas); GAR 12 (Reilly Holden). Penalty corners — NAN 7; GAR 9.
Valley West 4, Honesdale 1
Valley West`1`3 — 4
Honesdale`0`1 — 1
First half — 1. WVW, Emily Latoski (Karaline Stelma), 24:32. Second half — 2. WVW, Stelma (Latoski), 28:22; 3. WVW, Rina Tsioles (Elisabeth Luff), 27:25; 4. WVW, Stelma (Camryn Forgash); 5. HON, Sarah Meyer (Nicole Longman), 11:02.
Shots — WVW 31; HON 7. Saves — WVW 6 (Sydney Rusnock); HON 27. Penalty corners — WVW 16; HOM 3.
Wyoming Sem 10, Abington Heights 0
Abington Heights`0`0 — 0
Wyoming Sem`6`4 — 10
First half — 1. SEM, Hannah Maxwell, 23:42; 2. SEM, Maxwell (Alex Wesneski), 23:23; 3. SEM, Maxwell (Bari Lefkowitz), 14:55; 4. SEM, Quinn Medico (Maxwell), 5:13; 5. SEM, Wesneski (Maxwell), 4:44; 6. SEM, Aubrey Mytych (Kelsey Reznick), 0:06. Second half — 7. SEM, Reznick, 26:50; 8. SEM, Mytych (Julia Christian), 17:10; 9. SEM, Maxwell (Wesneski), 16:24; 10. SEM, Maxwell (Coty Pinero), 0:36.
Shots — AH 1; SEM 18. Saves — AH 8 (Grace Aiello 0, Mackenna Thorpe 8); SEM 1 (Mia Magnotta). Penalty corners — AH 6; SEM 8.
Hanover Area 4, Tunkhannock 1
Hanover Area`2`2 — 4
Tunkhannock`1`0 — 1
First half — 1. HAN, Sara Whitesell (Abby Korba), 23:43; 2. HAN, Whitesell (Sharon Monahan), 10:03; 3. TUN, Sophia Burke, 6:22. Second half — 4. HAN, Megan Davis (Monahan), 9:55; 5. HAN, Jessica Misson (Whitesell), 5:54.
Corners: HA: 9 T: 3
Shots: HA: 19 T: 8
Saves: HA: Alyssa Wivell/Rebecca Merth 7 T: Janice Shay 15
TEAM, Scorer (assist), time.TEAM, Scorer (assist), time.
Shots — HAN 24; TUN 18. Saves — HAN 17 (Alyssa Wivell, Rebecca Merth); TUN 20 (Jonica Snay, Iesha Hartman). Penalty corners — HAN 8; TUN 3.
Dallas 11, Pittston Area 0
Dallas`7`4 — 11
Pittston Area`0`0 — 0
First half — 1. DAL, Hannah Yanovich (Addison McClain); 2. DAL, Yanovich, (Hanna Oldt); 3. DAL, Yanovich; 4. DAL, Grace Young (Shannon Barrett); 5. DAL, Young (Yanovich); 6. DAL, Yanovich; 7. DAL, Yanovich (Alondra Church). Second half — 8. DAL, Barrett (Lauren Delamater); 9. DAL, Young (Yanovich); 10. DAL, Yanovich (Young); 11. DAL, Young.
Lake-Lehman 3, Delaware Valley 0
Delaware Valley`0`0 — 0
Lake-Lehman`3`0 — 3
First half — 1. LL, Ava Radel (Coley Leo), 19:29; 2. LL, Radel (Hunter Kline), 8:06; 3. LL, Alana Antonello (Katie Roberts), 4:47.
Shots — DV 5; LL 12. Saves — DV 9 (Emily Festa); LL 5 (Amy Supey). Penalty corners — DV 3; LL 16.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski