WHITEHALL – Isabella Pisano could hear teammates calling for the ball in the middle of the field, but as she corralled two of her own rebounds just yards from the goal on the right side, the sophomore sensed she had Wyoming Seminary’s best shot at breaking a scoreless tie.
Pisano put that second rebound into the cage to send the Blue Knights on their way and Mia Magnotta allowed Greenwood just one rebound shot all game as Wyoming Seminary won its third straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A field hockey state championship with a 3-0 shutout Saturday morning at the Zephyr Sports Complex.
“I was just trying to find an open spot in the cage,” said Pisano, who took all three attempts from the same general area, near the right post, as she moved just steps further from the end line after her first try.
Pisano’s goal, 4:02 into the second quarter was the first of three goals, scored over each of the final three quarters, using three different approaches.
Ella Barbacci got off a third-quarter blast at the end of a perfectly executed corner play and Anna Mozeleski whistled a reverse stick shot from the top of the circle under the crossbar for the last goal in the fourth quarter.
Greenwood never did find a way to get the ball past Magnotta, who made 13 saves in her third straight state championship shutout and fourth straight shutout this postseason, beginning with the district final and continuing through all three rounds of state play.
Magnotta made the toughest work look easy. She went nearly post-to-post to get her foot in front of a backdoor attempt to preserve the shutout and spent the game repeatedly not just stopping shots, but in one motion sending them low and hard away from the cage, and often out of the circle.
“Definitely keeping the ball hard, out wide and away from the cage is a big part of defense,” Magnotta said. “You don’t want that second shot because a lot of times, that’s when you get scored on.”
Wyoming Seminary dominated the play early while it was still scoreless, but as the Blue Knights gradually built their lead, the Wildcats evened out the possession and scoring opportunities.
The Blue Knights had the game’s first five penalty corners and first three shots.
With Grace Parsons seemingly stopping every early transition attempt, Wyoming Seminary did not let Greenwood inside the 25-yard-line with possession for the first 9:40 and did not allow the ball into its defensive circle for 12:40.
“Mia was great in the cage and Grace had a great game,” Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said. “We didn’t play one of our best games, but we played well enough to win.”
With Magnotta, the University of Iowa commit and first-team, all-state goalie leading the way, the Blue Knights shook off any potential problems to finish a perfect season in which they allowed just three goals in 16 games.
Wyoming Seminary played shorthanded for two minutes three different times after receiving the game’s only cards and had one less defender against a penalty corner early in the second quarter with the game still tied after it was called for starting its defense before the insert.
Pisano broke through early in the second quarter and Magnotta turned away consecutive shots for the only time with less than four minutes left to make it to halftime up, 1-0.
Hailey Womer used her speed, stickhandling and ability to anticipate Wyoming Seminary clearing attempts, to create the best Greenwood chances throughout the game. The wing stole a pass deep in the Blue Knights end and came in on the right side. Magnotta stopped the first attempt as well as Brooke Gothel’s follow-up attempt while moving down the left side.
The score remained at 1-0 until a recently added penalty corner play gave Wyoming Seminary its second goal with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
Maddie Olshemski inserted the ball from the right side and Wyoming Seminary moved it around the circle with passes by Parsons and Emma Watchilla. They worked the ball to Barbacci, who got off a hard shot from the left wing.
“We executed the corner perfectly and the shot was wide open,” Barbacci said.
Barbacci’s goal came on the first corner and first shot by Wyoming Seminary in the second half.
Mozeleski essentially put the game away on the first shot of the fourth quarter, just 1:13 into the period.
“My coaches always tell me and I try my best not to take it to the reverse side,” Mozeleski said. “But I saw a lane open and I figured there was no harm in taking that shot.
“I did my best and got a lot on it.”
Magnotta still had work to do to finish off the shutout, but the celebration was on.
“I was ecstatic,” Mozeleski said. “I’m definitely not the biggest goal scorer on the team, but seeing my teammates coming to hug me was the best feeling ever.
“It’s something that everyone on this team deserves, especially the seniors.”
The goals came from two sophomores and Mozeleski, a junior, but the team also had four starters from a senior class that made it to four straight state championship games and became the first District 2 team to win three straight state titles.
Magnotta and Parsons were joined by Abby Santo and Quinn Medico as the senior starters.
“These kids have been on a great run,” Klassner said. “They’ve been in four straight state championship games.
“This senior class did something that’s never been done.”
PIAA Class A Final
Wyoming Seminary 3, Greenwood 0
Second Quarter – 1. Isabella Pisano. 10:58. Third Quarter – 2. Ella Barbacci (Emma Watchilla) 3:08. Fourth Quarter – 3. Anna Mozeleski.
Shots on goal – GREEN 14, SEM 15. Saves – GREEN (Lydia Miller 10), SEM 13 (Mia Magnotta). Penalty corners – GREEN 7, SEM 8. Cards – GREEN 0, SEM 3.