WRIGHT TWP. — After a slow start to the regular season, most other teams around the Wyoming Valley Conference seemed to forget about the Crestwood Comets.
Morghan Murphy gave them all a reason to remember.
Murphy, a senior sharpshooter playing on Crestwood’s Senior Night, scored four goals Wednesday and the streaking Comets walloped Wallenpaupack, 8-0 at rain-drenched Crestwood High School for their eighth straight victory.
“I feel really good about our team,” Murphy said. “I feel like we’re really coming together more as a team, having fun together, being positive.”
In a game that honored Crestwood’s six seniors during an extended halftime ceremony, the Comets had more than a few blasts.
And most of them came from Murphy, who rocketed home the game’s first and third goals to take the Comets into the halftime celebration with a 3-0 lead.
“It was a little sad, being my senior night,” Murphy said of the ceremony. “But it’s exciting, knowing I’m leave a great team behind.”
The Comets can start thinking in terms of greatness again.
After reaching the state semifinals each of the last two seasons, traditional state power Crestwood staggered out of the gates this season by losing its first three games. As consecutive losses to Wyoming Valley West, Lake-Lehman and then Coughlin mounted over the team’s first week of regular season play, the Comets quickly dropped out of the WVC Division 1 playoff race.
The backbreaker was a 1-0 overtime loss to Coughlin on Sept. 13 that left the Comets in last place in the standings.
But Crestwood hasn’t lost since, recovering to surge to 8-3 while keeping pace with Coughlin — which downed Wyoming Area 2-1 Wednesday — for second place in the District 2 Class 2A playoff standings. Wallenpaupack fell to 6-6 overall and is in fifth place in the Class 2A district standings.
“Basically (it’s) just supporting each other,” Crestwood coach Patsy Moratori said, “running our offense better, moving the ball, passing the ball, playing as a team. I think(the players) knew we started with a hard part of our schedule. And they know if they got those opponents later in the season, it might have been a different story.”
The story of the latest Comets victory was Murphy, who converted her third goal for her first hat trick of the season midway through the second half to give Crestwood a 5-0 lead and keep the clock running under the sportsmanship rule.
“It means a lot,” Murphy said. “I just feel like me scoring really helps all of us. It’s fun.”
A converted midfielder-turned-forward, Murphy rattled the cage with her fourth goal under a steady rain that fell throughou the second half with just under 10 minutes to play, as Crestwood boosted its lead to 7-0.
“She did have a big game today,” Moratori said. “Morgan has a good eye for the ball. We moved her to forward, so she’s getting more opportunities to score. She’s definitely a very versatile player.”
A pretty slick one, also.
“I usually enjoy playing in the rain,” Murphy said. “It cools me off. But as the field gets slippery, I slide and fall. But I usually do that on every field, so I’m kind of used to it.”
It appears Crestwood is getting accustomed to winning again.
Mackenzie Kile added a goal and an assist in the victory and Crestwood’s defense surrendered just one shot — none in a second half that was spent mostly in Wallenpaupack territory — as the Comets recorded their third shutout in four games and fourth of the season.
“That’s definitely the goal, not to let them past the (25-yard line),” said Moratori, whose teams have held eight opponents this season to one goal or less. “We do everything we can to keep it out of there.”
While the Comets are pretty much out of the WVC title race — they’d have to win out and hope both Wyoming Seminary and Wyoming Valley West lose out to forge a first-place tie in Division 1 — they plan on being a factor in the upcoming six-team District 2 Class 2A playoffs.
Already assured of a district playoff spot, the Comets will try to secure a home game for their district opener by winning two of their final three games over the next week.
”It’s really important to us,” Murphy said. “We’re hoping to keep the place where we’re at so we can play at home in the playoffs.
“It gives us confidence, playing at home.”
Holy Redeemer 10, GAR 1
GAR’s Jada Redditt scored the first goal against Holy Redeemer this season 1:03 into the game, then the Royals responded with a 10-goal barrage that moved them to the brink of a second straight unbeaten regular season.
McKenna Dolan and Leah Mullery both had hat tricks as Redeemer, which already clinched the WVC Division 2 title ran its record to 11-0 and two-year regular season winning streak to 23 straight games. The Royals will try to wrap up their second straight 12-0 regular season against Hanover Area on Monday.
Kat Finnegan added two goals and Kayla Kruk finished with four assists for Redeemer, which is battling unbeaten WVC Division 1 leader Wyoming Seminary for the top seed in the District 2 Class A playoffs.
Reilly Holden stopped 28 shots for GAR.
Wyoming Area 1 (OT)
Abie Sorokas scored her second goal of the game 4:41 into overtime, lifting the Crusaders to victory in the team’s annual Pink Game.
Lauren Parente put Wyoming Area on top with the game’s first goal midway through the first half, but Sorokas tied the game with her first goal midway through the second half.
Sorokas then took a feed from Jolene Ulichney and scored with 10:19 remaining in overtime for the winner.
The victory moved Coughlin to 8-3 and kept the Crusaders tied with Crestwood for the No. 2 seed in the upcoming District 2 Class 2A playoffs.
Wyoming Area fell to 8-4 and elminated the Warriors’ chances of hosting a first-round game in the upcoming eight-team District 2 Class A playoffs. Wyoming Area sits in fifth place behind behind 8-2-1 Northwest, which has one regular-season game remaining, in the Class A district standings.
Nanticoke Area 1
Alexis Nevel scored one goal and assisted on another as the Bulldogs scored three times in the second half to take the victory.
Nanticoke Area grabbed a 1-0 lead on Veronica Penko’s goal in the first half, but Nevel scored just over two minutes into the second half to tie the game. Nevel then fed Nadia Lombari for the go-ahead goal later in the half. Abbie Nevel sealed the victory with an unassisted goal with two seconds remaining for Berwick, which improved to 6-4 ahead of 4-4-1 Hanover Area for sixth place in the District 2 Class A standings.
Nanticoke Area fell to 2-7-1, just ahead of idle 1-7-1 Meyers for the eighth and final Class A district playoff berth.
Hannah Yanovich had a hat trick and the Mountaineers held Tunkhannock without a shot.
Yanovich scored twice in the first half to send Dallas into the locker room with a 3-0 halftime lead.
Sam Banks added four assists for Dallas, which improved to 8-4 and remained a game out of the No. 3 slot to host a first-round District 2 Class 2A playoff game.
While goalie Melinda Ratchford didn’t have to make any saves, she did make an assist — on Maria Ostrum’s second-half goal.
Hazleton Area 0
Katie Roberts and Ava Radel both scored twice and added an assist apiece and the Black Knights kept their faint hopes for a second straight WVC Division 1 title alive by handling Hazleton Area.
Lehman improved to 10-2 with two regular season games remaining, just behind 11-1 Wyoming Valley West and 11-0 Wyoming Seminary in the Division 1 standings.
More importantly, Lehman maintained a slight lead over 8-2-1 Northwest for third place in the District 2 Class A playoff standings.
Hazleton Area fell to 4-8, just ahead of 3-8 Lackawanna Trail for the top seed and first-round bye in the District 2 Class 3A playoffs.
Alicia Galasso made four saves to record the shutout.
Jenna Corra made nine stops in the cage for the Cougars.
Crestwood 8, Wallenpaupack 0
First half — 1. CRE, Morgan Murphy (Emma Janosczyk), 20:02; 2. CRE, Sarah Richards (Mackenzie Kile), 18:53; 3. CRE, Murphy (Kile), 5:18. Second half — 4. CRE, Arden Morgans, 28:43; 5. CRE, Murphy, 15:36; 6. CRE, Kile, 14:04; 7. CRE, Murphy, 9:58; 8. CRE, Abby Davis, 1:30.
Shots — WAL 1; CRE 17. Saves — WAL 9 (Angela Ioppolo 6, Madison Kier 3); CRE 1 (Eryn Venesky). Penalty corners — WAL 2; CRE 6.
Holy Redeemer 10, GAR 1
First half — 1. GAR, Jada Redditt, 28:57; 2. HR, Leah Mullery (Kat Finnegan), 27:45; 3. HR, McKenna Dolan (Mullery), 23:09; 4. HR, Mullery (Lexi Fumanti), 19:37; 5. HR, Mullery, 13:39; 6. HR, Caton Fahey (Kayla Kruk), 11:56; 7. HR, Fahey (Mullery), 7:56; 8. HR, Finnegan (Kruk), 2:56. Second half — 9. HR, Finnegan (Kruk), 28:20; 10. HR, Dolan (Kayla Serafini), 22:02; 11. HR, Dolan (Kruk), 8:25.
Shots — HR 38; GAR 2. Saves — HR 1 (Meredythe Baird); GAR 28 (Reilly Holden). Penalty corners — HR 13; GAR 1.
Coughlin 2, Wyoming Area 1 (OT)
First half — 1. WA, Lauren Parente (Kari Melberger), 13:37. Second half — 2. COU, Abie Sorokas (Candladia Washinski), 14:47. Overtime — 3. COU, Sorokas (Jolene Ulichney), 10:19.
Shots — WA 14; COU 10. Saves — WA 8 (Ellie Glatz); COU 13 (Briannah Lee). Penalty corners — WA 10; COU 12.
Berwick 3, Nanticoke Area 1
First half — 1. NAN, Veronica Penko (Olivia Nice), 20:33. Second half — 2. BER, Alexis Nevel (Sammi Starr), 27:22; 3. BER, Nadia Lombari (Alexis Nevel); 4. BER, Abbie Nevel, 0:02.
Shots — NAN 9; BER 27. Saves — NAN 24 (Jill Maute); BER 8 (Jackie Nevel). Penalty corners — NAN 4; BER 6.
Dallas 5, Tunkhannock 0
First half — 1. DAL, Hannah Yanovich (Sam Banks), 27:01; 2. DAL, Emily Farrell (Banks), 7:21; 3. DAL, Yanovich (Banks), 3:03. Second half — 4. DAL, Maria Ostrum (Melinda Ratchford), 7:19; 5. DAL, Yanovich (Banks), 6:11.
Shots — TUN 0; DAL 16. Saves — TUN 11 (Tamara St. Clair); DAL 0 (Melinda Ratchford). Penalty corners — TUN 0; DAL 14.
Lake-Lehman 5, Hazleton Area 0
First half — 1. LL, Katie Roberts (Ava Radel), 27:36; 2. LL, Ava Radel (Roberts), 16:49; 3. LL, Roberts (Mikayla Adams), 3:32. Second half — 4. LL, Ava Radel (Madison Klopp), 27:10; 5. LL, Izzy Radel (Lynea Gregory), 7:05.
Shots — LL 14; HAZ 4. Saves — LL 4 (Alicia Galasso); HAZ 9 (Jenna Corra). Penalty corners — LL 9; HAZ 7.