The turf underneath her may have been soggy and she may have been physically exhausted, but there was no wiping the smile off Lexi Hosler’s face as she was mobbed by her Manheim Central teammates and sent crashing to the turf.
“We work so hard, our celebrations are the best,” Hosler said with a laugh. “It’s literally everyone piling in; varsity, JV, coaches, everyone’s just celebrating because it’s finally over.”
Hosler made sure Thursday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two field hockey game ended with another Barons victory, scoring on a penalty corner with two minutes left in overtime to clinch a 2-1 win over visiting Lampeter-Strasburg.
“They just stayed composed and kept the ball on the outside of the field,” Manheim Central coach Morgan Briggs said of the game plan. “We used our speed with Mattie Hartzler and Alissa Brubaker keeping it on the outside and running those sidelines and Lexi Hosler just took over and scored, which is what we needed.”
“We were a little bit off; mentally we weren’t quite there,” Briggs admitted of the game’s early minutes, “but they pulled it out and proved they wanted it more in overtime.”
The teams traded possessions throughout the first half until the persistent Barons (3-0 L-L, 4-2 overall) broke through seven minutes before halftime.
L-S goalie Alexis Garrett stopped the initial shot and Lily Nauman made a big defensive save, but Kylie Krosen buried the third attempt to give Central a 1-0 lead.
As the second half opened, L-S (1-2, 4-2) tried frantically to find the equalizer against a stout Central defense. The tally finally came with 6:50 to play as Daisy Frank netted a penalty stroke as a steady rain began to fall.
“I think we have a better offense than what we showed today,” L-S coach Katrina Swarr said, “but to see them come out after (suffering their first loss of the season on Tuesday) and play the way they did today, I was thrilled. We just did two things wrong: taking a big shot when we should have taken a small one and, in overtime, we kept bringing the ball to the middle. We have to go to the outside.”
The storm had subsided by the start of overtime as both teams sent the ball bounding across the field, eliciting cheers and groans from the crowd as shots skipped just wide of the cage or deflected off a defender’s stick.
Hosler made sure Central’s seventh corner counted. Taking the insert, the senior moved around the right side, shedding her defender and pulling Garrett out of the cage before lacing a shot into the backboard.
“I knew right away that I just had to keep it on my stick, keep it on my stick and hope for the best,” Hosler admitted with a laugh. “I knew that they only had three (defenders) back instead of four and the goalie, so I was hoping the corner was open.”