Controlled PM tops Hempfield
BY JASON FULGINITI, Sports Writer
It's something that can't be fixed with any number of drills in practice.
It's simply an intangible element of sports, one that only gets harder to manage as the wins get bigger and the stakes get higher.
Jenn Forney understands that.
"They have to recognize what their end goal is," Penn Manor's girls' lacrosse coach said of her players. "And to get (to that end goal) you can't be on an emotional rollercoaster."
Powered by a game-high six goals from Eryn McCoy, Penn Manor pulled away with a 5-1 run late in the second half and held on for a 13-10 L-L League Section One victory over Hempfield Tuesday night in Millersville.
In addition to avenging a 10-9 loss to Hempfield in their season opener March 25, the win gives the Comets (10-1 L-L) a half-game lead over Manheim Township (9-1) in the section race with just under two weeks remaining in the regular season.
With the loss, Hempfield (8-3) dropped into third, two games off the pace.
Still, as uplifting as Tuesday's victory was for Manor, it will face another emotional test come Monday, when the Comets travel to Township for a game that could potentially decide the section title.
Manor edged Township 13-12 in Millersville the first time the teams met, April 1.
Safe to say, the revenge element that worked in the Comets' favor Tuesday could be working against them Monday against Township.
As Forney, who saw that scenario unfold firsthand against Hempfield, would likely recognize.
"Having lost to Hempfield the first time we played them this season was a good thing to happen early on for us," she said. "I think the girls took the frustration from that game and put it on the field tonight."
Most notably in the latter part of the second half.
Still clinging to an 8-7 lead after Hempfield's Megan Bupp scored on a free-position shot with 15:03 left to play, Manor got a pair of goals from both McCoy and Shannon Sloss during a 5-1 surge.
Sloss capped that run with a driving blast that gave the Comets a 13-8 edge with 4:56 left to play.
Prior to that, Manor -- which trailed only once, 1-0 4:32 into the match -- hadn't led by more than two.
"Both teams came to play, but I think we didn't capitalize and put the little things together like we needed to early on," said Forney, whose team improved to 11-3 overall. "But at halftime we regrouped a little bit. And at the end, I think we were really able to turn it on."
One of the keys to that, according to Forney, was the Comets' improved effort in recognizing what the Knights were showing on defense, and reacting accordingly.
Fact is, but for 11 saves from Hempfield goalie Morgan Bare -- including some clutch stops after halftime -- the Comets might have distanced themselves further.
Still, as expected in such rivalries, Hempfield didn't go quietly.
After the Knights' Megan Brogan scored on a free-position drive from the left side with 4:16 remaining, Shannon Barto cut the lead to 13-10 with one of her game-high five goals with 2:22 left to play.
But the Comets, after regaining possession with a little over a minute left, eventually ran out the clock.
Still, with Manor's biggest games remaining on the horizon, it's no time to be getting overly emotional.
"A win only helps you move forward," Forney said.