Conestoga Valley's Abby Morley admits that her play isn't one of finesse when on the field hockey pitch.
"I don't have the best stick skills in the world, but I just crank it. That's what I love to do. I shoot often and soon," the senior said.
Monday afternoon at Lampeter-Strasburg Morley did just that and the Buckskins benefitted from it.
After recording an assist on the tying goal, Morley corralled the ball, whirled and in one motion blasted a shot past Pioneers keeper Brooke Zuber with more than three minutes left in the third quarter for the final goal in Conestoga Valley's 2-1 victory.
The Buckskins improved to 5-1 overall with the win. Coach Kelly Dearolf said that her team had plenty of incentive going into the nonleague match: The Buckskins got off to a late start because of a COVID-19 school closure, and remembered that Lampeter-Strasburg knocked them off 1-0 in the 2019 Lancaster-Lebanon League tournament semifinals.
"We've been climbing back. Everyone has (almost) double the games we have and I feel like we have something to prove," the coach said. "Today was the day we wanted redemption. That was the motivator today."
The Pioneers, who dropped to 7-2 overall, got on the board first, only 13 seconds prior to halftime. A late corner was awarded and Chloe Blantz ripped a shot from the atop the circle that was stopped by Bucks keeper Brooke Eberly. But the rebound went to Rowan Kimmel, who put it home.
Less than six minutes into the second half, Morley drilled a cross that Elli Hershey expertly tipped home, tying the game.
"Elli and I are black-eye buddies. We both got black eyes from tipping the ball in," Morley said with a laugh. "She is a beast. I just cranked it at her and had confidence she would tip it in. We are big rivals because of the area and it just felt awesome to win."
Despite trailing at the half, the Buckskins would not be denied after the intermission.
"They were relentless, they kept working hard and kept shooting," Dearolf said. "We told them keep shooting it will eventually go in and that's what they did. (Morley) likes to fire and she is fast. It's hard to keep up with her when you are beat and when she gets in that circle, she releases it so quickly."
Once it had the lead, Conestoga Valley played tight defense — particularly left-back Cassie Malles, who is actually new to her position — and kept the opposition at bay.
When the Pioneers did get a shot off, Eberly was there, including when she charged out to stop Tori Heiserman from in close with 2:50 left to play.
"I may not have been as confident in the first half but really picked it up in the second half," Eberly said. "The girls were a big part of that. When it's down there, just go after it and get it out. It's really exciting. It's a big win."
The Buckskins limited Lampeter-Strasburg to just four shots on goal in the second half.
"We picked it up and asked them to maintain that," Dearolf said. "For 30 minutes that second half we could not let down for one minute because we know with their talent and the way their forwards can shoot and score we did not want to give them the opportunity to get it in the cage.
("Eberly's) always great. You can always trust her as last one standing in the goal."