Late surge, defense lifts Gettysburg to win
Gettysburg was up by two goals and six minutes away from a district playoff win, but things were starting to get dicey.
Taking on Susquehannock in a first round District 3 playoff game at Bermudian Springs Wednesday night, Gettysburg found itself two players down after consecutive penalty cards to Maddie Hubbard and Taylor Tuhy. With Susquehannock consistently threatening to score, the game was far from over.
It wouldn't take long for Gettysburg to put it away.
Star forward Kailey Mixell carried the ball down the field and dove as she knocked a shot past Susquehannock goalie Emma DeLuca for a goal. Three minutes later, Madi Hirneisen would add another insurance goal to give Gettysburg a 5-1 win. It was Gettysburg's first district playoff win since 2010.
"We just had to make sure we getting back and covering the girls that were out," Mixell said. "And not getting down, we had to stay up. When I get that ball, if I know I can get around (the defense) I'm going to do it."
While the Gettysburg Warriors scored five goals in the game, it was really their defense that highlighted the victory. Susquehannock consistently put the ball in Gettysburg's end and registered an impressive 18 penalty corners, but only scored one goal.
Gettysburg coach Janelle Ebaugh praised defender Hannah Miller for clearing the ball time and time again. Goaltender Emma Sanders also chipped in with four saves.
"Hannah's clear's were just absolutely beautiful," Ebaugh said. "I knew defensively we were going to be okay. We practice defensive corners incessantly, we knew we were going to have a lot tonight. We spent a lot of time focusing on how to anticipate passes right and left."
In the beginning of the first half, the game was all Gettysburg. Hirneisen and Mixell scored consecutive goals within 30 seconds of each other in the first seven minutes and Maddie Hubbard added another to give the Warriors from Adams County a three-goal lead at halftime.
But a Brooke Morris goal put Susquehannock on the scoreboard with 13 minutes remaining and the consecutive penalties created some nervousness on the Gettysburg sidelines. Ebaugh credited Mixell for coming through with a clutch second goal when the team needed a boost.
"We're playing nine people against 11 with really speedy Susquehannock, even me on the sideline, I'm thinking, 'This is a little scary here,'" Ebaugh said. "Kailey rose to the occasion, just incredible. A nice way for the rest of the team to see you don't have to be beaten...by calls that happen and whether we agree with them."
Gettysburg will now play Manheim Central in the District 3 Class 2A quarterfinals on Saturday. A win would give Gettysburg its first berth in the PIAA playoffs.
"Their whole goal for having a successful season was getting past the first round of districts, tomorrow we'll have to regroup and figure out the next goal," Ebaugh said.