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Donegal field hockey captures District Class AA title with 2-0 victory

HERSHEY >> And they say the second time is easier.

For the Donegal Lady Indians, Saturday afternoon's District 3 Class AA championship victory against Twin Valley took every ounce of effort as the Raiders challenged Donegal and goalkeeper Katie Jean with a second-half barrage before the Indians pulled away for the 2-0 victory at Milton Hershey School.

"I wouldn't say we didn't play well, we were just off our game," said head coach Jess Shellenberger, pleased to note what it means for the season "if this is the letdown we're going to have" and still come away with a victory.

Donegal (25-0) led 1-0 at the half thanks to a goal by freshman Mackenzie Allessie, her 54th of the season, on a corner assist from Rachel Robinson.

But Twin Valley (23-2), which had been held without either a corner or a shot in the opening half, strung together six corners in the first 15 minutes of the second and nine for the half as the pressure mounted on Jean (6 saves).

"I think I just made sure on defense we stayed calm and collected, especially on corners when they were getting them back to back," said Jean, admitting she was less vocal than usual because of battling an illness. "I feel like my team is going to give 100 percent and I wanted to, too."

True enough whenever Raiders' leading goal-scorer Kelee LePage received the corner insert, Donegal defenders Rachel Robinson and Allaura Bohan were there to clear.

"I don't think our stars shined as much as they usually do today but Allaura Bohan was awesome, Rachael Overlander was great," Shellenberger said to name a few. "So it was nice to see when younger players who are typically role players stepped up in the district finals, that helped us immensely."

After the Raiders' seventh corner of the half, Kayla Walker's transition tally in which she beat Twin Valley goalkeeper Gina Gatto (one save) on a sweep into the far corner, was the icing on the proverbial cake with 12:07 left to play.

"They're a good team, and I think it's great that we withstood that," Shellenberger said, "and we came down and scored that goal even though we were under all that pressure. Once we scored that goal we kind of settled."

Settled into the fact that it locked-up consecutive titles for the Indians, and their fifth overall, after last year's victory over Oley Valley via shootout.

"I think it was less stressful (than last year) just because I know that everyone has my back," Jean said, "and also because we didn't go into double overtime."

Unlike last season, however, the undefeated Indians will look to improve on last year's one-and-done in the State playoffs.

"The postseason is one game at a time especially with states starting," Jean said on being undefeated. "If you lose the first game then you're out. We're just taking it like that and now obviously you have to stay undefeated."

Donegal 2, Twin Valley 0


Twin Valley00—0

First half: M. Allessie (R. Robinson), 22:54

Second half: K. Walker (UA), 17:53

Corners: DN 7, TV 9

Shots: DN 4, TV 6

Saves: DN K. Jean 6, TV G. Gatto 1, A. Lennon def. save 1