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Penn-Trafford field hockey team trying to grow

Lillian DeDomenic | For the Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford junior Maggie Saunders looks to corral the ball during a game against North Allegheny on Sept. 11, 2013, at Warrior Stadium.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Penn-Trafford field hockey team opened the season by winning four of its first six games. One of the Warriors' most encouraging performances, however, came in a loss.

North Alllegheny, traditionally one of the top teams in Class AAA, defeated Penn-Trafford, 3-2, on Sept. 11. Despite the loss, however, coach Cindy Dutt said she was “thrilled” with the way the team played.

“We had some fine opportunities and shots (in that game),” Dutt said. “I think what ended up happening was that we ran out of steam. They were better conditioned for that game than we were, which has never really been a problem for our team, but we're struggling with that this year.”

The loss motivated Penn-Trafford to come out and work harder.

“We started pushing much harder the day after North Allegheny on our conditioning, so that's been very helpful,” Dutt said.

Coming off a WPIAL championship in 2011 and a runner-up finish last year, Penn-Trafford is working to get to that level again this season.

The Warriors fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the section with a 3-0 loss to Pine-Richland on Friday.

Despite that loss, and the earlier one to North Allegheny, Dutt believes she has the personnel to get back to the postseason and do well.

What slowed the Warriors recently were a stomach virus and cold that hit several key players on the team.

“We've had trouble with health for part of (the season), for about a week and a half now,” Dutt said. “We played poorly (against Pine-Richland) — we were flat.”

So far this season, Penn-Trafford has been led by a strong defense and midfield that includes standouts Isabel Siergiej, Tori Lago and Julie Donald.

“I'd say the center of my field has been pretty much holding everything together,” Dutt said.

Other players to step up for the Warriors this season include senior Jessica Wisniewski in goal and seniors Lindsay Loughner and Taylor Nedley and juniors Karen Postupac, Maggie Saunders and Anna Taylor in the field.

As the season moves forward, Dutt is looking for more help on the scoring front. Last season's leading scorer, Amanda Steffey, is playing at Washington & Jefferson, and the Warriors are still trying to find consistent scoring without her in the lineup.

“We need improvement in our offense as far as getting harder shots on goal,” Dutt said. “(That would) be the nicest improvement. It's my Christmas wish, if you will.”

Penn-Trafford was scheduled to host Norwin on Tuesday night, in a game that ended past the deadline for this week's edition, before nonsection road contests at Fox Chapel on Thursday and Mt. Lebanon on Monday.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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