Meyers’ Alisin Duda (left) and Nikki Black of Northwest Area battle for possession of the ball during Monday’s game.Don Carey/The Times Leader
Meyers’ Abby McManus gets ready to strike the ball during a game with Northwest Area Monday.Don Carey/The Times Leader
SHICKSHINNY – Time after time, the Meyers defense turned away Northwest when scoring opportunities knocked.
Until the Rangers finally knocked the door down.
Kayla Morris scored the game-tying goal with eight seconds remaining in regulation and Nikki Black scored the game-winner in overtime as Northwest edged Meyers, 3-2, in a wild Wyoming Valley Conference Division III game Monday night at Lewis and Miller Stadium. The game featured two unbeaten teams battling for first place in the division.
After being shut down the entire game, Northwest (7-0) finally got on the scoreboard on the goal by Morris – a play started by the Rangers’ 21st penalty corner of the game. The teams combined for 36 penalty corners.
“We couldn’t score on any of those corners and that’s a credit to Meyers,” said Northwest head coach Terri DuMont. “They were so fast. We couldn’t get a shot off. I told the girls to keep playing hard and that we could score, even if there’s only 10 seconds left in the game. I guess I was right.”
When Northwest was awarded a penalty corner in overtime, DuMont had no idea what play to call.
“We had tried everything and not much was working. I didn’t have any plays left,” she said. “I told the girls to just do whatever play they wanted.”
The ball was knocked to Black during a scramble in front of the goal and the sophomore hit a slow roller to the far corner.
“I didn’t think it was ever going to get there,” she said.
More than 500 people attended the game, which featured two teams with 6-0 records. It certainly wasn’t a typical field hockey game. In addition to the large crowd, the game featured a marching band, large student bodies, and plenty of screaming parents.
“I thought it was a great atmosphere,” said. “It was exciting to see something like this at a field hockey game.”
Meyers head coach Sue Elias does not grant requests for interviews from the media.
The teams certainly didn’t disappoint the crowd. The final 15 minutes of the game provided edge-of-your-seat excitement. Players from both teams stood next to their benches and many of the fans didn’t sit for the final 10 minutes of regulation and overtime.
An enthusiastic Meyers squad dominated the first half of play. The Mohawks were several steps faster than the Rangers and used the speed and intensity to take a 2-0 lead.
Less than four minutes into the game, Ariel Weidler redirected a hard shot by teammate Trudi Konopki for a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, Konopki hit the ball into the circle to Kendra Hoban, who found an open Leanne McManus to give Meyers a 2-0 lead with 18:32 remaining in the first half.
“We were very slow in the first half,” said DuMont. “We looked messy. We weren’t passing the ball to each other, we weren’t aggressive. And Meyers played very well.”
The 2-0 score looked as though it might be the final score as neither team could put the ball into the cage for the rest of the first half and the opening 16 minutes of the second half.
That appeared to change when Northwest’s Mandy Black had a one-on-one breakaway opportunity against Meyers goalkeeper Sara Witkowski. Black hit a nice-looking shot into the far corner of the cage, but Witkowski made a tremendous diving save to keep the Rangers scoreless.
“Phenomenal save,” said DuMont. “That was incredible.”
But instead of giving the momentum back to Meyers, the play seemed to energize Northwest. Less than two minutes after the save, Kristy Tutorow took a pass from Jess Morris and got it past Witkowski to make it 2-1.
“That was a huge goal,” said DuMont. “We had so many opportunities to score and Meyers didn’t let us. That goal gave our girls some confidence. It was a great field hockey game.”
First half: 1. MEY, Ariel Weidler (Trudi Konopki) 26:39; 2. MEY, Leanne McManus (Kendra Hoban) 18:32
Second half: 1. NW, Kristy Tutorow (Jess Morris) 12:42; 2. NW, Kayla Morris :08.
OVERTIME: 1. Nikki Black (Jocelyn Engle), 6:33
Shots: MEY 13, NW 10; Saves: MEY 6 (Sara Witkowski), NW 9 (Michelle Cragle); Corners: MEY 13, NW 23.
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