Penn-Trafford field hockey stays alive with OT win
Penn-Trafford's field hockey team is still the reigning WPIAL Class AAA champion until this year's is crowned.
But thanks to a critical win Thursday, it also remained a defending champion.
Two goals by Sydney Pribanic allowed the Warriors to rally and win at Pine-Richland, 3-2 in overtime, and keep themselves alive in the Section 1-AAA playoff hunt.
At 6-2-1 in the section, the Warriors needed to win in their section finale against Norwin, and hope that unbeaten North Allegheny (9-0-0) won or tied in its finale against Pine-Richland (7-2-0). Both games were scheduled for Tuesday, after this edition's deadline.
“We did what we could to put ourselves in the best position,” Penn-Trafford coach Cindy Dutt said.
“I hate leaving it in someone else's hands, but we were out of it if we didn't win (against Pine-Richland).”
P-T was less than 11 minutes from being out of the running completely against the Rams, as the Warriors trailed, 2-1.
But Pribanic pounced on the rebound of an Isabel Siergiej shot to tie the game, and five minutes into overtime, she corralled a deflected shot by Amanda Steffey and fired the ball past Rams' goalie Abi Scherer for the winner.
“I'm so excited. This is surreal. I wanted it so bad,” Pribanic said. “Overtime was really intense, but I felt like we had it the whole time. I believe in my team.”
Both of Pribanic's goals and the opening goal by Steffey came from P-T penalty corners, an area of the game at which the Warriors had struggled.
But with five of them in the overtime period, it was only a matter of time before the Warriors got their third goal.
“We've not been executing our penalty corners very well, and it looked like we ran the same corner (play) a third time in a row,” Dutt said. “(Pine-Richland) defended it well, but that third time, the ball got through, and we got that second shot.”
Regardless of whether P-T makes a return trip to the playoffs or if Tuesday turned out to be the end of the line, Pribanic and her teammates intend to finish the year playing like the defending champs.
“We're going to stay focused the whole time,” Pribanic said. “We're going to stay intense and go try our hardest to win WPIALs again.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.