Tuesday night’s girls lacrosse matchup between Penn Manor and Hempfield was comparable to a heavyweight boxing rematch. Hempfield had the confidence edge after winning the previous meeting by a single goal while Penn Manor wanted to erase the bitter taste of defeat with the sweet flavor of victory.
“When you lose early on in the season, it’s very frustrating,” Penn Manor coach Jen Forney said. “For us, it was a good frustration.”
Both sides came out swinging and exchanging blows with Hempfield landing the first punch four and a half minutes into the contest with a Shannon Barto goal. Penn Manor swung right back thirty seconds later when Hannah Breidenbaugh found the back of the net. That thirty second span would be the last time Penn Manor would ever trail in the game as they went on to win, 13-10.
A little over a minute later, McKenna Edwards scored for Penn Manor to give the Comets a one-goal edge. True to prize fighter form, the Comets kept the Black Knights at an arm’s length for the remainder of the contest despite a few scares. Hempfield would tie the game three more times only to see Penn Manor go back in front in a seemingly instantaneous fashion.
Penn Manor’s most effective pugilist was senior Eryn McCoy who registered six goals while maintaining a feverish tempo throughout the game.
“She’s just a very athletic kid all around. She wins draws for us if they’re there. She’s all over the field,” Forney said. “I know today, she had some difficulty in the beginning hitting the back of the cage but once she figured out where to place the ball, she really capitalized and put our team ahead.”
But like any champion, Penn Manor had to not only absorb some blows but put up a formidable defense as well.
“I think our keeper had some big saves when she needed to. Lauren (Ali) really stepped up in critical times,” Forney said. “Our defense had some good stops as well. Not only just interceptions but ground balls and in the midfield, they worked very hard to re-defend which allowed us to get the ball back.”
Penn Manor will now turn their attention to Manheim Township on April 29. They’ll be on the opposite end of the spectrum this time since they edged the Blue Streaks, 13-12 at the beginning of the month. With the postseason approaching, Forney stressed that her team will focus on one game at a time.
“This is a big win but obviously we need to keep winning. It’s not just about wanting to go further and further but you have to take care of each game.”