EMMAUS — The Gwynedd Mercy Academy field hockey team had two opponents in Tuesday night's Class AA state semifinal - powerful Wyoming Seminary, and a faulty game clock.
The combination of the two was too much to overcome, as a tremendous season for the Monarchs came to an end with a 3-1 loss on a cold night on the turf at Emmaus High School's Memorial Field.
The win advanced the Blue Knights to Saturday's state final and a 12 noon showdown with Crestwood, which survived in double overtime, 2-1, over Oley Valley. The championship game will be held at the Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall.
After Wyoming Seminary took a 2-1 lead into halftime, the Blue Knights' Morgan Malone scored her second goal of the contest - this one off a penalty stroke - to extend the margin to 3-1.
The game clock should have read that there was 28 minutes and 21 seconds left to play, but either a malfunction by the clock - or the time being adjusted incorrectly - resulted in there being just 21:28 remaining in the contest.
Once the oversight was not corrected, GMA protested for the remainder of the contest and after the final whistle. But despite their argument, along with the same viewpoint from multiple people at the scorer's table as well as T.V. evidence, the game was over.
"(Wyoming Seminary) was highly skilled, a highly-skilled team that is used to this surface and they deserve a lot of credit,' said Monarchs coach Sue Persichetti, who directed her team to a 22-4 finish and within one game of its first state final berth since 1996. "However, (taking) seven minutes away is robbing my girls of a season that of working so hard.'
The Monarchs scored first in this state semifinal matchup, as senior tri-captain Cassie O'Brien sent a great pass into the box that freshman Haley Durkin was able to put in for a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest.
But the Blue Knights came right back.
Malone kept banging away on a rebound and got it to go in to tie the contest 1-1 with 18:10 left in the half. Displaying their outstanding firepower, Wyoming scored again just 21 seconds later, as a hard shot by Alexis Quick was tipped in by Gabby Grossman for a 2-1 lead.
Each team was able to put five shots on goal in the first half and play continued to be about even after the break, but Malone's penalty stroke gave Wyoming Seminary a 3-1 cushion and the Monarchs were not able to execute quite well enough on their corners the rest of the way.
"Wyoming's a great team,' GMA senior tri-captain Christa Giordano said. "We definitely played our best. We were focusing on not giving up and playing Gwynedd hockey no matter how good they are. I think we got caught playing defense and we weren't playing our offensive game as usual and it got us out of our zone a little bit.'
Wyoming Seminary 3,
Gwynedd Mercy Academy 1
Class AA State Semifinal
Wyoming Seminary 2 1 - 3
Gwynedd Mercy 1 0 - 1
GMA: Haley Durkin (Cassie O'Brien assist), 20:30; WS: Morgan Malone, 18:10; WS: Gabby Grossman (Alexis Quick), 17:49
WS: Malone (penalty stroke), 21:28
Shots: Wyoming Seminary 11; Gwynedd Mercy 12
Saves: Mackenzie Gagliardi (WS) 11; Ava Rosati (GMA) 8