TREDYFFRIN — There was time for one last drive toward the cage for the Central Bucks West field hockey team. Senior captain Elena Romesburg elected to keep the ball on her stick, but with a Conestoga clogging the middle the referee never signaled a score. Just a whistle and a finger pointing in the Pioneers' favor.
The Bucks never did find the back of the cage and the Pioneers prevailed 1-0, extending their season into the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, and ending eighth-seeded West's year in the first round of the District One fifth/sixth place playbacks
"It was a great, hard fought game all around,' Bucks coach Courtney Hughes said. "There were a lot of opportunities that we just could not finish. This team felt they could get to states. It hurts, but they will eventually feel the accomplishment.'
Romesburg was not the only player to put pressure on the Pioneers' defense and goalie Chloe Johnson. Fifth-seeded Conestoga intercepted passes and Johnson turned away four shots on goal. All it took was a goal from junior Oli Everts to keep the Pioneers playing. They face Downingtown West Friday to determine the fifth and sixth seeds out of the district.
"We have nine seniors on the team and it is exciting for them to have this opportunity,' Pioneers coach Megan Ryan said. "What we practiced Monday and Tuesday they did today.'
Everts controlled the middle and forced the Bucks to go play more congested than preferred. Junior Kimberly Hitchcock had her chances early and seniors Erick Fiorelli and Madison Shields added a late second-half surge as CB West was not ready to end its run toward a PIAA championship.
"We pushed it and gave it our all,' Shields said. "We played with our hearts.'
"They put a lot of good pressure on us, forcing us to use the middle, which we were not used to using,' Hughes said. "We are much more comfortable on the outsides and they did a good job of taking that away.'
The 2-1 loss to the top seed West Chester Henderson in the quarterfinals last Friday put the Bucks in the 3A playbacks, but it also gave them confidence coming into the contest Wednesday. Both teams were prepared to practice Thursday, but it will only be the Pioneers with a reason to do so.
"Central Bucks West is a strong team,' Ryan said. "They gave a good game and it made it a little more nerve racking, but exciting none-the-less.'
The Bucks wanted nothing more than a state playoff appearance. When they consider how far they have come since freshman year, they can be pretty proud of the progress they made. The seniors may have been sad seconds after their season came to a screeching halt, but quickly will realize they were a big part of a program on the rise.
"From where I was as a freshman to now is amazing to think about,' Shields said. "We went from winning three games to coming so close to states. The seniors should be proud and is there is a great opportunity for the rest of the team coming back.'
Follow staff writer Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.
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