LEHMAN TWP. – Lake-Lehman could be starting to make a habit out of this.
“That’s Lehman,” Jean Lipski said after her Black Knights made it back to the state tournament for the second straight year with a 1-0 victory over Wyoming Seminary. “I think we’re back.”
Lake-Lehman and Crestwood secured PIAA tournament berths and advanced to the District 2 Class 2A championship game with home-field semifinal wins Thursday night.
The two will play for the district title Tuesday at Wyoming Seminary at 7 p.m.
Crestwood, which has played in the last three state title games, rolled into its seventh straight state tournament by blasting Wyoming Area, 9-1.
Lake-Lehman has had to fight its way past six-time state champion Wyoming Seminary in tense, one-goal games between Wyoming Valley Conference divisional champions each of the past two seasons to start its own streak.
Before entering last season on an eight-year streak of missing state play, the Black Knights enjoyed an 11-year run where they made 10 PIAA appearances, won two state titles and played in three championship games.
Lipski said she enjoyed coming to practice every day in the state-level dry spell because she had great kids to work with, but she said she did not have the level of athlete that has made up the squad the last two seasons.
“Now, there’s so many kids who play travel, who play year-round, who do extra, who want extra help, who come and ask questions to improve themselves,” said Lipski, who leads a roster that features just two seniors. “It just blends to make a better team.
“And, these kids are blessed with some speed. They’re blessed with some quick-twitch. They’re strong. And, they play a nice game of hockey.”
Both defenses limited scoring chances throughout the night.
The one goal that was scored developed in a hurry.
Lake-Lehman had a penalty corner as it broke out of a timeout with 3:12 left in the half. Seven seconds later, it had the lead.
Katie Supey sent the insert into a pack of Black Knights huddled at the top of the circle. As the players dispersed, Sarah Sabaluski handled Supey’s pass and slid one of her own to the left. From high in the circle, Taylor Alba one-timed a quick, hard shot low and inside the near post.
“Corners are set up for the advantage of the offense, but it’s tough,” Lipski said. “It has to work perfectly.”
That time it did.
The Black Knights still faced some scares before it was over.
Lynea Gregory, one of the team’s steadiest defenders, rolled her ankle and went out early in the second half with Wyoming Seminary setting up a corner. Supey, the team scoring leader who chips in on corner defense, took a hard shot squarely off her knee cap and also had to be helped off the field.
“We put Miranda Martin in both times,” Lipski said. “She’s first off the bench and I thought she did a great job.
“It’s tough to go in cold in a hot game, but I thought did a real good job of doing that.”
Crestwood 9, Wyoming Area 1
WRIGHT TWP. – Crestwood coach Patsy Moratori said the best defense against an explosive Wyoming Area team was a good offense.
As it turned out, the best defender provided some offense, too.
Cara Jarmiolowski, who was largely responsible for limiting WVC scoring champion Bree Bednarski to a single goal and few chances, also scored her first goal of the season.
Jarmiolowski worked her way in front to score on a penalty corner, 1:04 into the second half as the unbeaten Comets broke away.
Crestwood already led, 4-1, before Jarmiolowski and Hunter Pitman converted the first two corners in the first 2:45 of the second half to put the game away.
The Comets allowed only one shot in the second half while padding their lead.
“I think they picked it up in the second half,” Moratori said. “I think our movement off the ball in the second half was much better, much crisper.”
Bednarski showed how dangerous she can be when she completed give-and-go with Jillian Spak with 18:58 left in the half for a 1-1 tie.
Jarmiolowski made sure there not many more chances.
“We knew we had to mark her at all times and know where she was at all times,” said Jarmiolowski, a senior defender and one of the team’s captains. “It just so happened that she was near me most of the time.”
Jarmiolowski was successful in stopping the ball before it got to Bednarski, but also took it off the speedster a few times.
“She’s very fast,” Jarmiolowski said. “I knew if I wanted to do well against her I had to get the ball before her or I had to be patient if it did get to her.”
Crestwood dominated possession, racking up leads of 29-3 in shots and 11-3 in penalty corners, limiting the times Wyoming Area could try to get the ball to its all-time leading scorer.
“If you play offense, it’s kind of the best defense,” Moratori said. “ … Basically keeping it on our end of the 50 is a big help.”
Crestwood responded well to the tying goal.
Lizzy Dessoye scored on a penalty corner with 15:33 left in the half to put the Comets ahead to stay.
They scored again 53 seconds later when Hannah Ackers controlled a long rebound of her own shot and sent a diagonal pass to Ashleigh Thomas at the far post. Thomas patiently waited for a recovering defender and moved to her reverse side to score the goal.
Ackers scored before halftime off an assist from Jarmiolowski on another corner play.
Ackers scored on a penalty stroke in the second half and Pitman also scored twice.
Both Pitman goals came on assists from Thomas.
Thomas and Dessoye each finished with a goal and two assists.
District 2 Class 2A Field Hockey Semifinals
Crestwood 9, Wyoming Area 1
First half — 1. CRES, Jordan Olenginski, 25:21. 2. WA, Bree Bednarski (Jillian Spak), 18:58. 3. CRES, Lizzy Dessoye (Mckenzie Kile), 15:33. 4. CRES, Ashleigh Thomas, 14:40. 5. CRES, Hannah Ackers (Cara Jarmiolowski), 2:43. Second half — 6. CRES, Jarmiolowski (Dessoye), 28:56. 7. CRES, Hunter Pitman (Thomas), 27:25. 8. CRES, Ackers (penalty stroke), 16:23. 9. CRES, Pitman (Thomas), 12:42. 10. CRES, Sarah Macko (Dessoye), 2:40.
Shots — WA 3; CRES 29. Penalty corners — WA 3; CRES 11. Saves — WA 15 (Katie Wolfgang); CRES 2 (Marlee Dillon).
Lake-Lehman 1, Wyoming Seminary 0
First half — 1. LL, Taylor Alba (Sarah Sabaluski), 3:05.
Shots — WS 7; LL 12. Penalty corners — WS 8; LL 11. Saves — WS 7 (Alexis Sokach); LL 5 (Alicia Galasso).