Crestwood’s Kayla Gluchowski chases after the ball during a District 2 Class 2A semifinal game Monday.BILL TARUTIS/FOR THE TIMES LEADER
MOUNTAIN TOP – Crestwood field hockey coach Elvetta Gemski gave a few instructions to Melissa Kuhns moments before the start of the District 2 Class 2A semifinal game against Lake-Lehman.
Find Black Knights standout Kelsey Amy. And don’t let her out of your sight.
Kuhns followed the instructions perfectly.
The senior joined goalkeeper Kylie Licata in leading a Crestwood defensive charge, shutting out Amy and the Black Knights in a 2-0 win at Crestwood High School.
The No. 2 seeded Comets (13-3) advance to the championship game and will play top-seed Wyoming Seminary (16-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Spartan Stadium in Kingston. Lake-Lehman ends its season at 12-5.
Despite getting 12 shots on goal – almost all of them coming in the second half – Lake-Lehman couldn’t find the back of the cage. Kuhns never let the Penn State-bound Amy more than a few feet away.
“It was a huge challenge,” said Kuhns. “(Gemski) told me about 30 seconds before the game. That might have been a good thing. I would have been nervous and worried if I knew the day before.
It’s hard to stay with her because she’s such a good player. She’s really quick, has great stick skills and a hard shot. I know it’s part of my role on the team. I want to do anything I can to get our team to the next level.”
It’s not as though Amy and her teammates made things easy for the Crestwood defense. Trailing 2-0, the Lake-Lehman senior blasted a shot on goal with about 20 minutes remaining, but the ball was knocked away by Kuhns.
“She did a real good job,” said a gracious Amy, referring to the Crestwood defender. “I give her all the credit in the world. She stopped me every time, basically. There were a couple of shots I thought I was going to rip into the goal, but somehow she found a way to get a stick in there. She did an amazing job.”
With less than 15 minutes left, Amy drove a powerful shot toward the Comet goal – a shot that went inches wide to the right. And with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Licata made a beautiful save, tipping a shot over the goal to preserve the shutout.
“Our defense was tremendous,” said Gemski. “I have to give extra credit to Melissa Kuhns for playing against Kelsey Amy and Kylie Licata, who came up big in goal. I’m extremely proud of our team.”
Kayla Gluchowski gave Crestwood a 1-0 lead on a goal off an assist from Jenna Chrismer with 22:17 remaining in the first half. The Comets added another goal when Cassie DiSabatino took a nice crossing pass from Maria Machalick and found the back of the cage for a 2-0 lead with 12:44 left in the first half.
The Lehman offense was very quiet in the first 30 minutes. That changed in the second half as the Knights picked up their offensive intensity. Most of the final 30 minutes were played in front of the Crestwood goal as the Lehman offense did just about everything it wanted to do.
Except score a goal.
“We played hard until the very end,” said Lake-Lehman head coach Jean Lipski, whose starting lineup included just one senior. “We gave Crestwood everything it wanted. Our kids truly believed they could win and they kept playing hard. That’s the sign of a courageous team. ”
First half : 1. CREST, Kayla Gluchowski (Jenna Chrismer) 22:14; 2. CREST, Cassie DiSabatino (Maria Machalick) 12:44.
Shots: LL 12, CREST 7. Saves: LL 5 (Cheyenne Kimble), CREST 10 (Kylie Licata). Corners: LL 5, CREST 1.