Nobody puts the Cedar Crest field hockey team in a corner.
At least no one should. It wasn't a particularly good idea on Saturday, anyway.
Cedar Crest racked up a whopping 22 penalty corner chances and scored its first four goals on corner plays en route to a convincing 5-1 victory over Annville-Cleona in the championship game of its own 26th Falcon Fall Classic at Earl Boltz Stadium.
Now 6-5 for the season, Cedar Crest steamrolled South Western 7-2 in the opening round of the four-team event, then survived an early scare from A-C (7-2) with the help of a Lexie Eberly defensive save. The Falcons went on to rack up first-half goals off corners from offensive catalysts Maddie Gable, Emily Peters and Maddie Barron on the way to the lopsided victory.
Emily Hombach added a second-half goal via another corner play, to continue the Falcons' mastery of a facet of the game in which it hasn't always been so masterful this season.
"Well, we had a lot of corners, so we probably could have scored on a few more," said Cedar Crest coach Dana Risser. "But we practice them a lot, so it's nice to see us put some in and execute. We've been pretty inconsistent on penalty corners — some games it's working, some games it's not — so to score the first four, it's good to see that. The kids need that confidence moving forward."
Gable got things started at 19:19, scoring off a feed from Barron just minutes after a hustling defensive save by Eberly denied a Michaela Singer scoring chance and a potential 1-0 lead for A-C.
Peters added a top-of-the circle blast with 10:01 to go in the half to make it 2-0, and Barron chipped in with the Falcons' third goal of the half, assisted by Eberly, with 4:34 to go before the break. Tasia Rutter tallied the Falcons' lone non-corner goal, wrapping up the scoring with 17 seconds left in the contest. Tori Mallo recorded A-C's only score, in the second half.
"Corners on turf are such a huge disadvantage because of the speed involved," said A-C coach Sue Felty of her squad's difficulties keeping Crest out of the circle. "We still have to work on defending corners, and we don't get to play on turf that much. So that adds a different aspect to the game for us."
Still, A-C, which is off to a very nice start this season in L-L Section Three, benefited quite a bit from playing a Section One team like Cedar Crest, which was determined to defend its home turf on Saturday during what was a respite from the rigors of section play.
"They bring up our level of play," Felty said. "So playing better teams like this is definitely good for us.
"The kids look forward to it every year, and it's nice to have some local teams here and some good competition," Risser said of the annual event. "It's always a fun day, and obviously important for us to defend our home field. It's a good thing for the kids."
Cedar Crest got twin hat tricks from Peters and Barron in the opening win vs. South Western, while A-C, playing is fifth game of the week, nipped Elco in the first round on a Meredith Bachman second-half goal.
South Western bounced back to blank Elco by a 4-0 count in the consolation game, with all four goals coming from Montana Utz.
PALMYRA TOURNAMENT >> At In The Net, the host Cougars earned a split in their tournament, falling to Penn Manor 2-1 in overtime in the title game,a rematch of last season's AAA state championship game that ended in a tie.
Gabby Bitts notched the game-winner at 2:54 of the extra session, while Palmyra's lone goal came from Jess Dembrowski in the first half.
The Cougars (8-2) upended Greenwood 3-2 in the first round behind a pair of goals from Kiley Gallagher.
Falcon Fall classic
Cedar Crest 7, South Western 2
South Western02—2Cedar Crest52—7
First half — CC: Emily Peters 3, Maddie Barron 2
Second half — SW: Utz, Donovan, CC: Barron, Hanna Lewis
Assists — CC: Peters, Emma Holzman, Taylor Kauffman, Tasia Rutter, Maddie Gable, Molly Bucher
Shots on goal — Cedar Crest 16, South Western 5 x;
Corners — Cedar Crest 9, South Western 1;
Saves — SW: Walker (8 saves), CC: Bell (3 saves)
Annville-Cleona 1, Elco 0
First half — None
Second half — AC: Meredith Bachman
Assists — AC: Katelyn Brightbill
Shots on goal — Annville-Cleona 19, Elco 1;
Corners — Annville-Cleona 12, Elco 0;
Saves — E: Kendra Bicksler (18 saves), AC: Haley Zimmerman (1 save)
South Western 4, Elco 0
First half — SW: Montana Utz
Second half — SW: Utz 3
Assists — SW: Bollinger, Sillyman, Moser
Shots on goal — South Western 12, Elco 4;
Corners —South Western 6, Elco 6;
Saves — SW: Walker (4 saves), E: Bicksler (8 saves)
Cedar Crest 5, Annville-Cleona 1
First half — CC: Maddie Gable, Emily Peters, Maddie Barron
Second half — AC: Tori Malloy, CC: Emily Hombach, Tasia Rutter
Assists — AC: Emily Fiebig, CC: Maddie Barron 2, Lexie Eberly 2, Cailie Bernard
Shots on goal — Cedar Crest 14, Annville-Cleona 4;
Corners — Cedar Crest 22, Annville-Cleona 0;
Saves — AC: Haley Zimmerman (9 saves), CC: Bell (2 saves), Eberly (defensive save)