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Penn-Trafford field hockey blanked by Selinsgrove in PIAA play-in game

| Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, 6:09 p.m.

Selinsgrove's fast start led them to a 5-0 victory over Penn-Trafford Saturday at Latrobe in a play-in game to go to the PIAA Class AA first-round field hockey playoffs.

The Seals (19-1) scored all five goals in the first half, and their defense was able to shut down the Warriors.

“We wanted come out strong and just really work on our scoring, teamwork and support,” Selinsgrove coach Cathy Keiser said. “And that's what they did. We're proud of them [as coaches].”

It only took 1 minute, 34 seconds for the Seals, the District 4 champions, to score. Saramae Radel scored off of an assist by Emily Swineford, following a penalty corner.

Four minutes later, Danielle Alba sent a low cross from the end line, and Anna Piechuch scored for a 2-0 lead.

Penn-Trafford (8-9) did not register a shot in the first half.

“Defense is always important. It takes a team,” Keiser said. “It's not all about the scoring. Defense sets up the offense, so defense is huge.”

With 5 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the first half, Swineford's redirected shot off a Megan Hoffman pass gave the Seals a 3-0 lead.

Penn-Trafford coach Cindy Dutt said her team tried to limit Selinsgrove's quick attack.

“We were trying to cut off some of the passing lanes,” Dutt said. “They have a lot of set plays, and once the defense was able to recognize it, they were able to cover it a little better.”

However, just under two minutes after Selinsgrove opened a three-goal lead, Hoffman weaved through Penn-Trafford's defense and scored an unassisted goal following a corner penalty.

With 36 seconds remaining in the first half, Olivia Reichley scored off an assist by Alivia Freed.

Penn-Trafford goalies Samantha Doherty and Sara Letham combined for 13 saves. Selinsgrove only faced one shot.

“They were taking a quicker step to the ball,” Dutt said. “We were hoping to get the ball up top. We like to go for a lead pass, but we weren't able to get that through pass going today.”

The game was an eye-opening experience for the Warriors.

“They play a much faster game than we play here in Western Pennsylvania,” Dutt said. “We do try to control the place of play, and we are able to in many cases, but we'll have to train to play faster.”

The Warriors only returned three starters from last season.

“The fact that we were able to build a well-rounded cohesive team in such a short amount of time is a positive,” Dutt said.

Zach D'Amico is a freelance writer.

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