VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - Day 2 of the Junior Women’s National Championship started with an overwhelming downpour of rain five minutes into warm up for the Midwest and Mid Atlantic squads. Luckily, the weather parted just in time for the opening whistle. The initial possessions went back and forth with no real offensive opportunities for either team for over twenty minutes.
Shots and penalty corners were traded, but finally in the 24th minute a penalty corner goal from Mid Atlantic’s Christy Longacre (Bethlehem, PA) added a tally to the board. The penalty corner seemed to have broken, but Longacre gathered the loose ball from Christine Knauss (Lutherville, MD) at the top of the circle and fired a strong shot past the Midwest goalkeeper.
Midwest countered with back-to-back penalty corners, but were unable to execute. The score remained Mid Atlantic 1, Midwest 0 at halftime.
Just as the sun began to shine in Virginia Beach, so did the Midwest’s attackers. From the start, they dominated the play and produced two goals in the first five minutes. The first in the 37th minute when Geena Lesiak (Voorhees, NJ) sent a swift ball across the circle, where Nikki Parsley (Milford, DE) one time swept it up and over the Mid Atlantic keeper. Three minutes later, Sydney Kirby (Cleveland Heights, OH) picked up a free ball near the center of the cage and another one-time sweep pushed the Midwest lead to 3-1.
The strength in attack did not cease there. In the 49th minute, Andrea Earle (San Diego, CA) tipped in a perfectly executed Midwest penalty corner hit from Dani Peirson (Conestoga, PA). Mid Atlantic responded in the 61st minute with a goal by Alyssa Parker (Woodbine, MD). Parker received a pass from Mary Vicars (Moesley, PA) at right of the cage, quickly spun out and sent a push past Midwest goalkeeper, Kathleen McGraw (Atherton, CA).
The goal closed the gap to 2-3 and added a spark of intensity to both squads. As time expired, Mid Atlantic continued to scavenge for a goal, but could not convert. Midwest held onto the lead to take the match, 3-2.
New Jersey and the South took the field for the second match of the day. New Jersey struck first with a penalty corner goal from Gabrielle Major (Royersford, PA). Major redirected a sweep from Coleen Boyce (Californ, NJ) in the 9th minute to take a one goal lead. The South marched down the field and earned three consecutive corners. The second corner ended in a goal line defensive save by New Jersey’s Lauren Hibshman (Allentown, PA). During the third penalty corner, Molly Murphy (Winston-Salem, NC) struck the crossbar on her attempt.
The South continued the pressure and earned a penalty stroke in the 17th minute to level the game at 1-1. Cassandra Wagener (Norfolk, VA) converted on the stroke with a push to the lower right corner of the cage.
Before the end of the half, New Jersey’s Marie Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, PA) tapped in an airborne shot by a teammate to take the 2-1 lead in the 32nd minute. Shortly thereafter, Allison Evans (Macungie, PA) dribbled toward the South goalkeeper and lobbed a ball up and over the stick of the keeper, who had gone down for the save. The tally at halftime was New Jersey 3 – South 1.
Both teams returned to the field for the second half ready for battle. In the 53rd minute, New Jersey forward Allison Evans was presented with a ball in the center of circle, where she pushed it to the corner of the cage. The slight lift on the ball allowed it to aerial over the goalkeeper’s pads and drop behind the goal line to give Evans her second goal of the game. The 4-1 lead would be maintained by New Jersey for the remainder of the game.
Just as the sun began to set, Pennsylvania and New England took the field for the final match of Day 2. Pennsylvania drew a penalty corner in first 45 seconds, but the sharp hit from the top was blocked by New England’s keeper.
Almost as quickly, New England marched down the field and earned a penalty corner, executing a standard give and go option at the top of the circle. Kim Young (Sidney, NY) was there to finish with a strong sweep and set New England ahead 1-0 in the 5th minute.
In the 24th minute, New England converted on a penalty corner that featured a low drag by Kim Young that was tipped in by Erica Borgo (Randolph, NJ) to take the 2-0 advantage. Only a few plays later, the same penalty corner drag by Young rebounded off the keeper’s pads, but was finished by Hannah Prince (Gorham, ME).
Pennsylvania earned a penalty corner as time expired in the first half, but New England goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter (Wilbraham, MA) held strong between the posts preserving the 3-0 lead to halftime.
The spark was obviously present in Pennsylvania out of the gate in the second half. In the 37th minute, Alyssa Chillano (Phoenixville, PA) poked the ball past New England’s Carpenter to make it 3-1. Two minutes later, another penalty corner was awarded, but the goal was called back. Pennsylvania got right back at it earning 3 more penalty corners in the next 4 minutes.
Pennsylvania dominated the following minutes, but New England’s break away play in the 48th minute left a forward with a beautifully lifted shot destined for the back of the cage. Pennsylvania keeper Kylie Licata (Mountain Top, PA) disagreed, leaping to make arguably the most impressive save of the day.
Pennsylvania got right back to it, scoring off a penalty corner in the 52nd minute by Ashleigh Sebia (Plains, PA). Sebia picked up the goal after laying down her stick for a textbook deflection from a hit at the top. With score at New England 3, Pennsylvania 2, the pressure heightened.
New England found the back of the net again as a trio of forwards crashed the net in the 60th minute. Emily Borgo was there to slip it past the goalie for her second tally of the match, making the score 4-2.
The 66th minute brought another goal, this time in favor of Pennsylvania. Tara Zollinger (Jeannette, PA) sent a rocket across the goal where Anna Dessoye (Moutian Top, PA) presented her stick for a strong deflection.
Plenty of penalty corner opportunities were available for Pennsylvania, but New England held on to take the match, 4-3.
Tomorrow, Monday, June 20th will be a rest day. The tournament will resume on Tuesday, June 21st at 4:30pm. Admission and parking are free and open to the public. All matches are played at the Virginia Beach National Training Center located at 2181 Landstown Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23456.
The game schedule is listed below with all times in local EST. Event news and results will be posted to the website daily. Live match information can be found on Twitter @USAFieldHockey.
Tuesday, June 21
- PA vs New Jersey @4:30PM
- Mid West vs New England @6:15PM
- South vs Mid Atlantic @8:00PM
Wednesday, June 22
- New England vs South @4:30PM
- Mid Atlantic vs New Jersey @6:15PM
- Mid West vs PA @8:00PM
Friday, June 24
- Mid Atlantic vs New Engand @4:30PM
- South vs PA @4:30PM
- New Jersey vs Mid West @6:15PM
Saturday, June 25
- 5 vs 6 @4:00PM
- 3 vs 4 @4:00PM
- 1 vs 2 @6:00PM