Region 7 Clubs Dominate 2020 Junior Premier Indoor League

Feb. 26, 2020, 2:52 p.m. (ET)

Content Courtesy of Junior Premier Hockey

 

The 9th annual Junior Premier Indoor League (JPIL) ended this past weekend at the 422 Sportsplex in Pottstown, Pa. with the crowning of new U-16 and U-19 Champions. While the U-14 Championship was held on February 8 at the Total Turf facility in Pitman, N.J.

 

Those in attendance witnessed intense competition throughout and some very thrilling finishes, including the U-19 Championship decided in a shootout after SPark tied the game at 5-5 with no time left on the clock and sent it to several rounds of a shootout.

 

After six league dates of competitive indoor hockey on a consistent and regular basis, all participating clubs were ready for success at any level of competition at their respective upcoming Sheetz National Indoor Tournament (NIT), presented by YOLO Sportswear. Huge improvements can be seen by all participating clubs. Their hard work is commendable and attributed to the commitment made by the athletes, coaches and parents.

 

In the U-14 division, Central Penn FH and SPark made it an intense, competitive and marathon of a championship match. The first half ended tied at 1-1, then Central Penn FH took the early lead in the second half, with a goal from Gianna Caperelli (Dillsburg, Pa.). SPark answered right back with a field goal by Marisol Torreyson (Crofton, Md.), her second of the game. A few minutes later Holly Deangelo (Harrisburg, Pa.) of Central Penn scored to take the lead and within seconds, Kylie Corcoran (Crofton, Md.) tied it up for SPark at 3-3, sending the game into a shootout. After three rounds, Corcoran of SPark and eventual Dita Player of the Tournament, sealed the deal to earn her team the 2020 U-14 JPIL Championship.

 

The following weekend in the U-16 and U-19 division, two new first-time champions were crowned at the HPIL Invitational.

 

First was the U-16 division final between Central Penn FH and Freedom HKY. Undefeated after pool play, Central Penn were the odds-on favorite. With a semifinal win over UPRISE, they now faced a very talented Freedom HKY team who also coasted to a semifinal win over SPark.

 

From the first whistle, Freedom HKY proved worthy challengers and struck first in the 1st minute on a field goal from Madeline Vasilios (Clarksville, Md.). That lead did not last long and in the 4th minute, Central Penn equalized on a field goal from Kirstin Sconyers (Enola, Pa.). With solid defense demonstrated by both clubs, the first half ended 1-1. Six minutes into the second half, Central Penn FH took the lead on a penalty corner goal from Camryn Standish (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). They held on to the lead until the 33rd minute when Freedom HKY’s Sophia Baxter (Sykesville, Md.) tied the game. With time running out and the title at stake, Freedom HKY stepped up their game and in the 36th minute, Madeline Kandra (Crofton, Md.) finally found a hole in the solid defense of Central Penn FH and scored to put Freedom HKY up by one.

 

With four minutes remaining, Central Penn FH pressed hard and threw everything they had at Freedom HKY’s defense, with coaches urging on the players and parents on their feet shouting from the stands on every position and opportunity. Puja Nanjappa (Ellicott City, Md.), the Dita Player of the Tournament, and her teammates were not ready to give into the pressure. They held their ground as the seconds ticked away until sound of the buzzer signaled the end of the game with a slim 3-2 margin and Freedom HKY crowned the 2020 U-16 JPIL Champions.

 

In the U-19 division, the first semifinal match Freedom HKY defeated South Jersey Edge 8-1. The second semifinal between Philly HC and SPark was more evenly matched. With Philly HC down 4-1 and only a few minutes left to play, the team pulled their goalkeeper and earned two quick goals with one minute remaining on the clock. But without a goalkeeper, SPark was awarded a penalty corner in the final seconds and Lila Slattery (Millersville, Md.) stepped up and converted her fourth goal of the game, ending Philly HC’s hopes of advancing to the finals. The final score was 5-3 in favor SPark.

 

The stage was now set for the finals with Freedom HKY against SPark, two top clubs who demonstrated their speed, skills and abilities all season long and ranked 1st and 3rd, respectively, going into the championship weekend.

 

SPark took control early in the game with Carson Smith (Severna Park, Md.) converting a goal in the 4th minute, but that did not last long. In the 7th minute, Freedom HKY equalized on a penalty corner from Peyton Hale (Forest Hill, Md.). Moments later, SPark converted another field goal from Slattery, the league’s top goal scorer, to bring the first half to an end with the score 2-1 in favor of SPark.

 

With excitement in the air, both Freedom HKY and SPark started the second half with a flurry of offense. Over the span of ten minutes, five goals were scored as the game was tied 4-4 with 10 minutes left in the game.

 

Freedom HKY broke the tie in the 36th minute to take the lead on a field goal from Daniela Mendez (Reisterstown, Md.). With the clock winding down and the title in sight, Freedom HKY was holding on to the slim, one-goal lead. SPark earned a penalty corner just before the horn went off to signal the end of regulation. All Freedom HKY had to do was defend the penalty corner to claim the championship. Slattery, SPark’s penalty corner specialist who had shown perfection on set pieces every weekend, stepped up to the edge of the circle.

 

Parents and supporters from both teams were on their feet and there was nothing but silence as the insert, stop, shot and goal followed. The match headed to a shootout after a 5-5 score at the end of regulation. Slattery came through once again, scoring four of SPark’s five goals, three of which were converted on penalty corners. The final goal in regulation launched SPark to the 2020 U-19 JPIL Championship which was won in a shootout.

 

Special recognition was given to the following individuals who were each presented a $150 gift certificate thanks to the generosity of award sponsor, Dita USA.

  • U-14 Most Valuable Player: Kylie Corcoran, SPark
  • U-14 Top Goal Scorers: Taylor Pendergast, South Jersey Edge, and Holly Deangelo, Central Penn FH
  • U-16 Most Valuable Player: Puja Nanjappa, Freedom HKY
  • U-16 Top Goal Scorer: Madeline Vasilios, Freedom HKY
  • U-19 Most Valuable Player: Kendyl Underwood (GK), SPark
  • U-19 Top Goal Scorer: Lila Slattery, SPark

With the NIT format of two periods of 20 minutes the same as JPIL, all participants were well prepared to compete at their final competition of the indoor season. The NIT results will reflect the hard work and preparation put in by all participating clubs.

 

The present and continued success of the JPIL is not possible without the support of many individuals.

 

The Umpire Managers, Donny Gobinsingh and Fran Corl, and all the dedicated umpires. Junior Premier Hockey (JPH) appreciates the commitment and support for this event and hope all continue to support the JPIL.

 

Technical Director, Lurah Hess, and her technical officers include the club parents who provided technical assistance as judges by keeping the games running on time with accurate results reporting.

 

JPH would also like to give recognition to the college coaches who took the time to come and hope all were pleased with the level of competition.

 

Lastly, JPH would like to thank award sponsor, Dita USA, and the official ball supplier Mercian (dba: Savage Field Hockey), Exeter Foot and HomeLight for seeing the value for such an event in the development of youth, sport and for supporting the event.

 

JPH asks that support is shown to these sponsors throughout the year by visiting them at the NIT and other USA Field Hockey National Events, or go online to view/purchase their products or services.

 

On behalf of the JPH Directors Rachael Bloemker and Nigel Traverso, thank you for the hard work, commitment, support and cooperation in making this ninth year another success.

 

Congratulations to the 2020 JPIL Champions - SPark (U-14), Freedom HKY (U-16) and SPark (U-19) and all clubs that participated!

 

JPH is looking for a title sponsor for both the JPIL and Junior Premier Outdoor League for the period of 2021 to 2023. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please contact JPH by clicking here.

 

For all results and final rankings, visit the Junior Premier Hockey website by clicking here.