HUMMELSTOWN - After a long and successful season, Forbes Road finally met its match on Saturday afternoon.
In a PIAA Class AA field hockey quarterfinal game, Forbes Road was challenged by the Greenwood Wildcats, who captured a convincing 6-1 victory.
The Cardinals (15-3-1) struggled to defend a speedy attack, were unable to get the ball to their strongest players and earned only two penalty corners in the entire game.
"We thrive on our corners, and we never got one until the end of the game," Forbes Road caoch Carol Cline said. "Greenwood did such a terrific job denying us the circle, and they were shutting down our passing options."
There seemed to be some hestitation on the part of the Cardinals. That came mostly from the lack of possession for Forbes Road's top trio - Corri Parsons, Shania Gelvin and Kiersten Cline. Regardless of the strategy of the Cardinals' offense, they were unable to get those three in control of the game.
"Greenwood was doing such a good job as far as covering what we could do," coach Cline said. "Even if we short-passed and were moving, Greenwood moved so well that they were shutting us down. When we did get open and have a chance to do the long ball, they were stepping to the ball before we were."
The Wildcats (19-3-2) were led by junior Hattie Kuhns, who had a goal and two assists.
"It definitely raises my confidence for the next two games," Kuhns said. "It was a good day, you could say."
Kuhns helped get the scoring started when she passed a ball through the middle to freshman Mallory Fortenbaugh, who easily found the back of the net. Shortly after, Greenwood added to that goal with a two-on-one break. Kelsey Keener came shooting up the right side, and she passed it to the middle to set up Jordan Burkepile perfectly.
"I think it's great if you can come out here and get it in early," Greenwood coach Kent Houser said. "That takes a little pressure off your game, and the longer you sit and don't score, the worse it gets."
Just five and a half minutes into the contest, the Cardinals were already trailing 2-0. But Forbes Road quickly cut the lead in half with a goal from Malea Truax, who displayed her will to win. She took a shot, which was saved by Wildcat keeper Kathryn Osborne. But Osborne had overcommitted - she was nearly 15 feet out of the cage - so when the rebound bounced back at Truax's feet, it was an easy goal.
Unfortunately, that was the only goal for the Cardinals.
After that, Greenwood really started to show its strength on penalty corners. Three of its last four goals were off corners.
"We really spend a lot of time on our corners," Wildcat junior Katherine Barton said. "We make sure that our inserts are good and our shots are well-placed. We want to keep it unexpected, so we can have a really solid corner game."
Lauren Fried added one before halftime to set the lead back at two goals.
In the second half, the Wildcats came out even stronger, scoring their final three goals in the first 14 minutes.
"I thought in the second half, our defense was much stronger," Houser said. "Our team defense was much better, and I thought we got some really good shots. Their goalie played fabulously, particularly in the second half."
Forbes Road keeper Olivia Mills was certainly the bright spot. She had 10 saves - eight of which came in the second half. She made some excellent toe saves and diving stops to keep the score from getting out of hand.
"Olivia did a really good job; she was just way, way too busy," Cline said. "This is the first year she's been a goalkeeper, and she has done a really good job."
With the victory, Greenwood will face Crestwood in the semifinals on Tuesday. Crestwood finished off its quarterfinal opponent, Selinsgrove, in a 1-0 nailbiter, in which the Comets scored in the final two seconds of the game.
Forbes Road once again ends its season in the quarterfinals. Cline said one of her main goals for next year is to get to the semifinals - a level the Cardinals have never been. Forbes Road returns all but four of its starters, and Cline said there is a lot to look forward to.
"Things are set up good here for next year, so we look forward to that," Cline said. "We had a terrific season, and we want to be right back here again. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be either."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or email@example.com.
Greenwood 6, Forbes Road 1
Forbes Road 1 0 - 1
Greenwood 3 3 - 6
Forbes Road scoring: G - Malea Truax. A - Brittany Truax.
Greenwood scoring: G - Lauren Fried 2, Mallory Fortenbaugh, Jordan Burkepile, Hattie Kuhns, Taylor Tompkins. A - Kuhns 2, Kelsey Keener, Katherine Barton, Mackenzie Wirth.
Shots - FR 5; GW 16. Penalty corners - FR 2; GW 13. Saves - FR 10 (Olivia Mills); GW 4 (Kathryn Osborne).