Selena Adamshick of Lake-Lehman tries to score against Nanticoke’s goalie, Catherine Cooney.Aimee Dilger/the times leader
LEHMAN TWP. – The Nanticoke Area field hockey team issued a tough test to Lake-Lehman on Thursday night.
And the Black Knights had all of the answers.
Lake-Lehman answered a pair of Lady Trojan goals in the first half – and Kelsey Amy scored two of her three goals in the second half – to post a 5-3 win in a District 2 Class 2A quarterfinal game at Edward H. Edwards Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Black Knights (13-3) will play No. 1 seed Dallas at 3:30 p.m. Monday in Dallas Township. Nanticoke Area ends its season at 14-2.
The Lady Trojans took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first half, but after each goal, Lake-Lehman quickly responded to tie the game. The teams played to a 2-2 tie in the first half.
“I think quickly scoring a goal after your opponent scores is important in any game, but especially a playoff game,” said coach Melissa (DeCesaris) Smigielski. The former Lake-Lehman standout filled in for head coach Jean Lipski, who isn’t coaching during the district’s teacher strike. “Those goals helped to take away any momentum (Nanticoke) might have been getting.”
It was all Lake-Lehman in the second half, with Amy scoring twice and Selena Adamshick adding one to give Lake-Lehman a comfortable 5-2 lead. Courtney Engle added a late goal for Nanticoke.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments at halftime,” said Smigielski. “We just kept playing our game. I really didn’t say too much to the girls. They realized their season was going to end with a loss.”
Fast-paced play led to plenty of excitement in the first half, with the teams combining for four goals in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Black Knights started things off quickly, getting two penalty corners in the first 30 seconds of the game. But it was the Lady Trojans who struck first.
With no Lake-Lehman player standing within five yards of her, Amanda Madajewski took a pass from teammate Leigh Ann Rentko and rifled in a shot from the right wing past goalkeeper Alex Lubinski to give Nanticoke Area a 1-0 lead with 24:25 remaining in the first half.
Lake-Lehman responded, with Kate Williams scoring unassisted to tie the game at 1-1 with 15:57 left in the half. The goal came shortly after a penalty corner, one of seven for the Black Knights in the first half.
Nanticoke Area wasted little time in retaking the lead. Junior forward Holly Mitkowski scored off an assist from Gaby Malishchak for a 2-1 lead with 12:32 remaining.
But less than three minutes later, Amy tied the game at 2-2, taking a pass from Adamshick and tapping it past Nanticoke Area goalkeeper Catherine Cooney.
The loss was a bittersweet ending for the Lady Trojans, who cruised through the Wyoming Valley Conference Division II to win the championship.
“It’s difficult to lose, no matter what point it is in the season,” said fourth-year head coach Jamie Spencer. “We appreciate the championship. We won it last year and this year, so that’s a big accomplishment. But we were hoping to go farther in the playoffs.”
The win extends a quietly successful season for Lake-Lehman, whose only losses have come against Dallas, Wyoming Seminary and Crestwood – teams with a combined record of 42-4.
“If we can sneak up on a couple of teams, that’s great,” said Smigielski, who played on several championship teams at Lake-Lehman. “If you need publicity to get you motivated, you’re not a true athlete. We want to show everyone that Lake-Lehman is still around.”
For more photos of the Lake-Lehman/Nanticoke game, go to www.timesleader.com.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments at halftime. We just kept playing our game. I really didn’t say too much to the girls. They realized their season was going to end with a loss.”