Fairfield in state title game
Fairfield head coach Phomma Phanhthy discusses the team's 3-0 win over Warrior Run Tuesday in the state semifinals. The Green Knights are one win from a state title. Matt Allibone
MECHANICSBURG - Fairfield head coach Phomma Phanhthy always gets nervous during games, but he felt especially anxious during halftime on Tuesday.
The Green Knights were stuck in a scoreless tie with District 4 champion Warrior Run in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals at Cumberland Valley High School. Both teams had barely missed on a few opportunities and a tight second half looked possible.
But the always dangerous Fairfield offense was about to erupt.
Less than six minutes into the second half, star senior Hannah Logue knocked a shot past Warrior Run goalkeeper Madi Welliver to get the Green Knights on the board. Logue would then set up both Annabel Anderson and Nora Clarke with goals later in the half to send Fairfield to the state title game with a 3-0 win. The Green Knights will play Shady Side Academy in the state championship game Friday at 11 a.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
"I'm always jumping up and down, but I knew that if we kept attacking sooner or later we were going to crack that double-zero (score)," Phanhthy. "I knew that if we would work the ball out wide and play like we normally do we would get the opportunities. It was nice to see the second half they finally stepped up."
Friday will mark Fairfield's first appearance in the state title game. While the stakes will be high, the Green Knights will be familiar with the Hersheypark Stadium atmosphere, having won the District 3 title there two weeks ago.
And while the game will be played during school hours on Friday, Fairfield will hope to still have a large group of supporters in attendance. The Green Knights fan base was out in full force Tuesday, filling the Cumberland Valley bleachers and serenading the players with chants throughout the game.
"At the beginning of the season we just had a couple of people showing up, but now that we're going further and further its just more and more people coming out to support us," Logue said. "I love it when they cheer. It pumps me up. It think its going to help (playing at Hersheypark stadium) that we know the atmosphere but it's an even bigger game than last time."
While Logue led the team's second-half charge with a goal and two assists, it was her sister Moriah, a junior at Fairfield, and the freshman Anderson that seemed on the verge of scoring early. Welliver made several big saves for the Defenders in the first half while Fairfield was fortunate to have a Warrior Run shot clang off the crossbar.
And though the final score looked lopsided, the Defenders played with the Green Knights for most of the second half before giving up two goals in the final eight minutes. Fairfield outshot the Defenders 9-5 and outnumbered them in corners 8-1.
"We had one-on-one with the goalkeeper a couple times, she did an excellent job of pressing and coming out to deflect the ball away," Phanhthy said. "I thought we were going to get it there a couple times in the first half."