Highlights of Annville-Cleona's 1-0 loss to Oley Valley Wednesday in the District 3 Class 1A Semifinals. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
LITITZ – It’s already been an unprecedented season for the Annville-Cleona field hockey program - it won a section title for the first time in 44 years, and now found itself in the deepest part of the district playoffs it's ever been.
And like all teams, the Lady Dutchmen were looking for more.
But unfortunately for A-C, it ran into an unbeaten Oley Valley team that has made a habit of shutting out opponents this year.
Though they had some chances late, the Lady Dutchmen became the latest shutout victim, falling 1-0 to the No. 1-seeded Lynx on Wednesday at Warwick’s Joseph Grosh Field in the District 3 Class 1A semifinals.
“Definitely proud of this team and that was the first thing I said to them," A-C coach Sue Felty said. "It kind of goes to show what their feelings are and how losing isn’t acceptable to them. I’ve just been so proud of the way they’ve handled everything so far. They’ve really stepped up in the postseason and done some things we’ve never done. That’s very cool and it makes a coach very proud.”
The lone Oley Valley goal came at a deflating time for the Lady Dutchmen, when Madison Kline put the Lynx on the board after time expired in the first half, thanks to a penalty corner opportunity.
“It was very disappointing, especially to let them score with no time on the clock when it was something we could’ve prevented,” Felty said. “At that point, it went to playing from behind instead of being even, so it definitely hurt, since it also beat us.”
The latest shutout for the Lynx (23-0) was their 17th this season.
But facing that tough defense didn’t spoil A-C’s confidence going in offensively, especially knowing it had been playing solid defense as well this season.
“We’ve always looked at trying to get our fast break going, but it took us a little while. We started to pick things up at the end, but it might have been too late,” Felty said. “We’ve been scoring a lot so we were still hoping to put a goal or two on the board.”
And the one golden opportunity came at the halfway point of the second half, when Morgan Zimmerman picked up a loose ball and charged toward the goal, but couldn’t get a clean shot off.
Zimmerman said, “I think I got a little excited. I lost track of where I was. I was like, ‘This is kind of my only chance. I have to go right here,' and I just messed it up."
But despite putting up a goose egg, Zimmerman says they’re still some positives she and her teammates can build on.
“We knew that a lot of the game we would be playing defense. But our goal was to try to get it in the circle as much as we could,” she said. “We struggled a little bit, but it gave us a lot of confidence since we only lost by one goal. They were a really good team.”
And that confidence will be needed to shake off the disappointment of not having the opportunity to play for a district championship – because as Felty says, there’s still a lot to play for.
“Hopefully we can pick ourselves up from this," she said. "They get so disappointed that you don’t want it to cause more losses. So we need to come back and still be hungry. And states is a whole new chapter. We just need to take it one game at a time.”
The Lady Dutchmen will face Greenwood in the third-place game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lower Dauphin Middle School.