They say practice makes perfect, but sometimes perfect form isn’t necessary.
“There was a girl defending me on the side, which accounted for the awkward angle — off my back foot, sort of mid-stride. I was not in the ideal setup of how we usually practice shots,” Manheim Township’s Sophia Rockwell said.
Despite the angle, Rockwell’s shot found the back of the net Tuesday at Comet Field as the Blue Streaks topped Manheim Central 1-0 in the Lancaster-Lebanon League field hockey quarterfinals.
Manheim Township advances to Thursday’s semifinals at Hempfield. At 6 p.m., it will face Section One rival Penn Manor, a 4-1 winner over Donegal in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Lampeter-Strasburg and Conestoga Valley, who won their quarterfinal games at Donegal on Tuesday, will follow in the 8 p.m. game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
Defense was key in both games at Penn Manor on Tuesday, starting with Township and Manheim Central battling between the 25-yard lines for most of the first half.
Township (12-6) took aim first, with Rockwell working the ball down field and finding Keliah Santiago, but Central goalie Mikayla Regan made the diving stop. The Barons (13-5-1) got their first look on a corner midway through the period, but goalie Vanessa Daniels turned away Jenna Lutz’s shot.
Township earned four corners to open the second half, but Central’s Lexi Hosler came flying out of the cage to make two stops and Regan saved two more.
The Blue Streaks finally cracked the scoreboard with 15:09 to play as Rockwell went around the right side and flipped it through the defense and into the open left corner of the cage.
“We went out after that timeout with an urge and desire to score that goal,” Rockwell said. “Abby Laubach took it on the side and it was just a great ball through. I knew that their defense was pressuring and I needed to get rid of it, so I just tried the best angle I could.”
The angles were a little more direct for Penn Manor in Tuesday’s nightcap.
The Comets (15-4) capitalized on a pair of corners and took a 3-0 lead into halftime as Malayna Kahl netted a rebound and Lydia Marchuck scored from the right post with 5:01 on the clock. Twenty-eight seconds later, Anna May Barbusca slid a pass down the far sideline and Jasmine Miller swept the ball into the back of the cage.
Donegal (12-6) earned the game’s first corner six minutes into play, but managed only one shot in the game. The Indians converted on a corner 1:12 into the second half as Maddy Leety tipped in a strike from Morgan Saunders.
Penn Manor answered back three minutes later on a strike from Caity McGough and had a number of chances at a fifth goal, but Donegal goalie CC Emswiler swatted away an aerial and made a diving save on a ball trickling toward the goal line.
“We had good execution tonight and I thought our girls played really great,” Penn Manor coach Matt Soto said.
“We’re solid on the back line and it was really nice — we got some stops,” he said of his defense. “I wish we would have tackled a little better, but give our opponent credit because they got through out tackles very well.”
In quarterfinal games at Donegal:
L-S 3, Northern Lebanon 2 (OT): Northern Lebanon (17-1-1) twice found the equalizer with Lindsay McFeaters and Rachel Dunmire each netting a goal to force overtime. Daisy Frank gave L-S (13-4-1) the lead just a minute into the second half before connecting for the game-winner 7:55 into the extra period.
Conestoga Valley 3, Elco 0: Goalie Sarah Shollenberger had 14 saves as Elco (11-5-1) kept the game scoreless at halftime, but CV’s Carli Eberly broke the deadlock 6:04 into the second period. Abby Morley added a pair of insurance goals for the Section One co-champions (13-5).