HUMMELSTOWN — Annville-Cleona’s field hockey team has had a lot of great moments this season. And they still have a lot to look forward to in next week’s state tournament.
Aiming for a District 3 bronze medal on Saturday afternoon, however, the Little Dutchmen settled for gold stars all around after falling to Greenwood, 3-1, in the Class 1A third-place game Saturday afternoon at Lower Dauphin Middle School.
“Of course we wanted to (win),” Annville head coach Sue Felty said. “I knew Greenwood had third last year so we talked about - OK, they had their turn, now it’s our turn. We’re still getting to play; we still have a chance to keep our season alive. That’s the important thing for us right now.”
Indeed, despite the loss, the Little Dutchmen (19-4) advance to next Tuesday’s PIAA opener as the fourth seed out of District 3. They’ll take on District 2 champion Lake-Lehman (16-0-1) at a site and time to be determined.
“I’ve heard of them and I don’t know a thing about them,” Felty admitted, “but I was looking at the bracket and saw that was the possibility. So, yeah, we’ll be heading north.”
Saturday’s contest versus Greenwood (18-3) was a bit of a north and south affair, as well.
Greenwood generated a preponderance of penalty corners, out-cornering Annville 18-5 for the game. In the first half, however, the Dutchmen defense led by Addie Plummer excelled at clearing the ball out of the circle in support of goalkeeper Haley Zimmerman (5 saves).
Meanwhile, Annville took the lead 12 minutes into the contest on its second penalty corner. Katelyn Brightbill passed to her right to a streaking Emily Fiebig for an easy tap-in goal.
“We did have a nice series of passing there where it wasn’t just those two,” Felty said, referencing the team’s usual acuity for sharing the ball. “We weren’t quite clicking today so I wasn’t sure what the problem was.”
Annville’s lead stood through halftime before Greenwood started to capitalize on its own opportunities.
Tri-Valley Conference MVP Paityn Wirth led the way, passing to Morgan Burkepile for a tap-in similar to Fiebig’s, tying the score 6:43 into the half.
Sydney Hicks netted the go-ahead goal off a corner ten minutes later, one-timing it past Zimmerman from the wing. Wirth followed suit on a subsequent corner, rocketing it in from the elbow with 9:05 remaining.
“We started well. Just kind of faded there in the second half,” Felty said. “They (the Wildcats) were quicker on their feet going to the ball and we were reaching with our sticks instead of moving our feet to keep up. That’s why they hurt us and why they were able to get those corners.”
It has been a rough week for A-C. On Thursday, a memorial service was held for former player Steph Inman, who passed away one day prior to the teams’ state-berth clinching victory in the quarterfinals.
“It’s been a long, draining week,” Felty said.“I think in the end some of that has caught up to them, not that they would admit that. Life sometimes happens when you least expect it.”
As do future opportunities. For the players, it’s to play a sport they love. To enjoy a chance to play in states for the first time since Felty herself was a player. And on Tuesday, to spend time with their teammates on a long bus ride north.