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Penn-Trafford set for must-win game today

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Senior midfielder Sydney Pribanic, one of three Penn-Trafford field hockey players with more than 10 goals this season, moves the ball upfield during a game against Oakland Catholic on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Submitted

The Penn-Trafford field hockey team will have a lot on the line when it plays at Pine-Richland Thursday.

The Warriors (4-2-1 in WPIAL Section 1-AAA) need a win in order to stay in contention for the playoffs, where they are defending champions.

“The way I figure it, if we beat Pine-Richland (today) and North Allegheny beats Pine-Richland (on Oct. 16), we still have a shot,” Penn-Trafford coach Cindy Dutt said. “With games remaining, we're still in it.”

The top two teams in the section will advance to the WPIAL tournament in two weeks.

North Allegheny (6-0-1) has clinched one spot, with Penn-Trafford and Pine-Richland (6-1) fighting for the other.

Pine-Richland lost to North Allegheny the first time around.

Pine-Richland defeated Penn-Trafford, 4-2, last month.

North Allegheny handed the Warriors their other loss, 1-0, last week.

Penn-Trafford and North Allegheny played to an overtime tie, 2-2, last month.

Senior Amanda Steffey said she and her teammates are nervous going into today's game, she said.

“You can't help but be,” said Steffey, who leads Penn-Trafford with 26 goals.

“The only thing we can do is focus on playing well.

“We have to score early and do a lot of passing. Last time we played them, we did more dribbling than passing. They scored first and we lost momentum.”

Penn-Trafford is encouraged by the return of sophomore Isabel Siergiej.

One of the team's top scorers with 24 goals and six assists, she missed the first game because of illness.

“Right up until game time, I think the girls thought Isabel was going to play,” Dutt said.

“When she didn't, I think it affected them.”

Senior Sydney Pribanic (13 goals and 11 assists) also will play, as will junior Tori Lago, who has contributed three goals as a defender.

Sophomores Maggie Saunders and Karen Postupac provide depth.

Senior Harry Miller is in his second year as goalie.

“We lost some good players from last year,” said Dutt, in her seventh year as head coach. “I thought it might come down to the wire for us.”

Senior midfielder-defender Mary Taylor has returned after missing much of the season with a foot injury.

Penn-Trafford and North Allegheny shared the section championship with 9-1 records a year ago.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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