By BILL RUDICK
CALN — With not a whole lot on the line but bragging rights and maybe some momentum headed into the PIAA field hockey tournament, sixth-seeded Downingtown West squared off against No. 5 Conestoga on Friday afternoon at Coatesville High School in the fifth-place game in the District 1 Class AAA tournament.
With the pressure eased a bit, the two teams battled through an entertaining sixty minutes of regulation and another 10:30 of overtime before the Whippets' Makenna Colby scored the game-winner on a penalty stroke as West reversed the result of a regular-season matchup with a 3-2 victory.
"We lost to them in the first round of districts last year and then again when we played them in the regular season,' said Colby. "We knew this time was our time to get the win and some confidence going forward.'
West will head into Tuesday's PIAA first round to face the District 11 champions (Emmaus or Pleasant Valley). Conestoga will get the first place team out of District 3 (Warwick or Lower Dauphin).
Tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, the teams moved on to the first 15-minute, seven-on-seven overtime, with both teams forcing corners early on in the extra session.
West moved the ball in tight in the cage area and in the ensuing scrum, was awarded a penalty stroke with 4:24 remaining in the period. Colby set up for the stroke and slapped it home over the glove side of Conestoga goalie Chloe Johnson.
"I try to get a look at the way the goalie is standing,' said Colby. "I try to get a read on her and then just take the shot. I'm just happy it went in and we go into states with a win.'
West notched the first two goals of the game before a Conestoga comeback that included field hockey's version of a buzzer beater. Savannah Cabaddu scored unassisted in the first half, then Taylor Johnson scored six minutes into the second half to make it a 2-0 game.
"That was a big goal because it put us up by two,' said Johnson. "But then they came back and made us go to overtime.'
Lane Adams finally put ' Stoga on the board, converting a penalty corner with 15:43 to play. Still needing a goal to equalize, the Pioneers pressured the West defense.
The pressure created opportunities, as four corners in the last six minutes could attest to.
One of the corners finally reaped dividends with 23.6 seconds left. Oliver Everts put the ball in play on the insert to Megan Connors, whose shot went in the left corner of the cage for the equalizer with just two-tenths seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime.
"There are a lot of positives we can take from this game,' said Conestoga coach Megan Ryan. "I couldn't be more proud of the way this team battled back and played the way they did for the whole second half. This team has a ton of heart and soul and this was an excellent example of it. We will focus on the positives — the season isn't over -- and we'll be ready to go for states.'
West, meanwhile, gets a little bit of revenge and heads into the PIAA tournament on a high note.
"I think this makes us 20-3 for the season,' said West coach Liz Morrow. "I couldn't be more proud of this team and the effort they gave. We knew this was going to be a tough matchup and going into overtime with a tough team is great practice headed into states where every game is tough.'
Downingtown West 3, Conestoga 2, OT
Downingtown West 1 1 1--3
Conestoga 0 2 0--2
Downingtown West goals: Cabaddu, Johnson, Colby
Conestoga goals: Adams, Connors
Goalie Saves: Leahy (DW) 2; Johnson (C) 5