Palmerton clinches D-11 berth
Palmerton’s Erin Kistler (left) tries to go around Northern Lehigh’s Olivia Horninger. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS. For a video go to www.tnonline.com
Palmerton head field hockey coach Patrick Frank knows his team is young.
Sometimes, youth in a varsity lineup can bring problems. Sometimes, it can bring great things.
Fittingly, it has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the Bombers this season — containing both ups and downs.
But in their final regular season game against Northern Lehigh in front of their home crowd, the Bombers ended things on a high note, defeating the Bulldogs 2-0. With the win, Palmerton qualified for the District 11 playoffs.
“Our season has kind of been up and down,” Frank said. “There were a couple games that maybe we should’ve had and we didn’t. I look around and this team is young, so I’m happy to be in the position we are.”
Sophomore Ana Recker scored two first half goals to provide the winners with all the scoring they would need.
Needing to beat rival Northern Lehigh to secure a .500 record needed to qualify for Districts, had the Bomber faithful a little more anxious than desired.
“We dropped three overtime games this season that I thought we could’ve won,” Frank said. “There have also been some 1-0 losses that didn’t go our way. So looking back, we didn’t necessarily need to be in this position entering our last game of the regular season, but we are where we are.”
Although Frank and the Bombers would have preferred to have taken care of business earlier, they made sure they did it against Northern Lehigh.
“I can’t say enough about the girls tonight. They came out here and played an excellent game,” Frank said. “Two games ago, we didn’t pass the ball around very well. Tonight, we did. Everybody was where they were supposed to be. We had a couple of little things we need to clean up, but it was an all-around team effort and a good job.”
For the youthful Bombers, it was their second win over Northern Lehigh this year, as they also posted a 2-0 win on Sept. 5.
“It’s just really awesome to beat Northern Lehigh two times in a season,” Recker said. “I thought we did a great job cutting to the ball tonight. That was a huge key factor for us.”
With a postseason berth now secured, the Bombers are looking to step up their game.
“I definitely think we need to cut to the ball more and be a little more aggressive and keep our sticks down,” Recker said.
“We could also communicate more as a team, because it’s going to be good competition, but we’ll work hard,” Emily Baumgardt, a junior captain added.
Despite the youth and some tough losses, coach Frank said his team has the ability to rise to the occasion.
“The better the team we play against, the better we’ve played a lot of times,” he said. “And I will say this, we didn’t necessarily score a lot this season, but we sure didn’t get scored upon too much.”
HOME RECKER ... Recker scored at the 24:48 mark of the first half off an assist from Baumgardt, then at another goal at the 11:18 mark of the first off a feed from Emma Christman.
STATS ... The Bombers held an 18-2 advantage in shots and a 14-5 edge in penalty corners. Kendall Heiney had seven saves for the Bulldogs in goal.