GIRLS' LAX: Manheim Township claims seventh straight district title
HERSHEY - For the Manheim Township Lady Blue Streaks (17-7), Thursday's dominant 21-14 victory in the District Three Lacrosse championship over Lancaster-Lebanon league rival Hempfield (18-4) was, on a smaller scale, a team effort.
On a much broader scale, however, Township's seventh title in seven seasons speaks volumes about the program as a whole.
"It feels really good," said Township junior midfielder Maryn Bernhardt. "Seventh win, we're winning for our alumni to keep the tradition going. No, it doesn't get old."
Township actually had to battle back in the game, played at Hershey Park Stadium, as Hempfield took a 2-1 lead on goals from Sammy Helgeson and Paige Diminick, answering an early tally from Townships' Sadye Walker.
"We were expecting Hempfield to be really hyped up," Bernhardt stated. "I just think they got the ball first, and they have some really good players who can run down the field really fast. Our defense is good and we're tough but sometimes we can't stop a girl running to goal."
But after Virginia commit Emily McBride evened the contest on the first of her game-high seven goals, Bernhardt found net on a free-position goal 4:17 into the contest to take the lead and put the Lady Blue Streaks' offense on cruise control.
Three goals from McBride and two from Bernhardt (four goals, assist), plus single tallies from Hannah Wertz and Carolyn Mann, put Township up 10-2 just 10 minutes into the contest.
"I just think everyone went really hard, our offense really put it together, our defense was good," Bernhardt said, crediting center-mid Wertz and the rest of the teams' midfielders on winning draws. "Lately we've been doing well with draws, so that was good."
With the game never in jeopardy from that point on, Township still had to play out the next forty minutes of clock.
Helgeson (five goals) and Diminick (three goals, assist) each scored again for Hempfield. But in the final minute of the first half, Bernhardt lobbed a shot over the head of Hempfield goalkeeper Sarah Wood and Elizabeth Petrosky hit on her fourth of five assists, this one to Walker (five goals), while the Lady Streaks built a 16-4 lead at intermission.
"We have a lot of depth," agreed Township head coach Mark Pinkerton. "We're fortunate to even have starting caliber players on the bench. They have passion for the game, they drive themselves and we're happy to get good athletes into our game at Manheim Township, so I'm the lucky recipient of that."
In the midst of liberal substitutions in the second half, a final tally from Walker gave Township a 20-7 lead, breaking their own record for goals in a championship contest.
"It feel great, I'm really happy for the girls," said Township head coach Mark Pinkerton. "They worked hard and they showed up with great energy and were ready to go. In the first half we couldn't have played any better."
Hempfield would score the final six goals of the contest, Lady Blue Streaks' goalkeeper Mimi Curtis (six saves) stepping out with 6:42 remaining, a thirteen-goal lead, and a championship trophy well in-hand.
Despite not facing too stiff a challenge in the District bracket, Township will now look forward to next week's state competition, set to begin Wednesday.
"Districts is a huge goal but we're looking to quickly regroup and get ready for states," Pinkerton said, remarking on playing a tough regular season schedule. "There's a lot of things you get out of top-level competition. It builds your confidence, builds your skillset, (and) gets you ready for the big games."
Seven years' worth, in fact, and still going strong.
Girls' High School Lacrosse
District 3 Final at Hershey Park Stadium
Manheim Township 21, Hempfield 14
MT 16 05 - 21
HEM 04 10 - 14
Manheim Township Scoring-E. McBride 7, S. Walker 5, M. Bernhardt 4, H. Wertz 2, C. Mann 2, S. Svetec 1
Manheim Township Assists-E. Petrosky 5, S. Svetec 2, E. McBride 1, M. Bernhardt 1, L. McBride 1
Hempfield Scoring-S. Helgeson 5, P. Diminick 3, L. Ryan 2, T. Nolan 1, CC Huber 1, B. Ryan 1, N. Smith 1
Hempfield Assists-P. Diminick 1, L. Ryan 1
Total Shots-MT 23; HEM 21
Total Saves-MT (M. Curtis 6, I. Drolet 1); HEM (S. Wood 1)