With her team‚??s season hanging in the balance, Morgan Malone looked at the opposing goalie and envisioned her mother.
Devin Holmes saw no reason to tighten up.
And Hannah Dressler viewed it as one more chance to celebrate.
This is how Wyoming Seminary‚??s field hockey team passed off the pressure of playing a PIAA Class 2A playoff opener decided by double strokes.
They let their minds wander away from the bitter cold, toward much warmer thoughts.
‚??It was almost surreal,‚?Ě Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said, ‚??a little bit of an out-of-body experience for me.‚?Ě
For them all, really.
The Blue Knights‚?? grueling 2-1 victory over Southern Lehigh in the first round of states Tuesday was decided only after a high-intensity double-overtime battle in freezing temperatures, two sessions of penalty strokes and a stoppage of play that toyed with the team‚??s emotions.
So how did Sem survive?
Through positive thoughts, of course.
Rather than try figuring out how in the world to beat Southern Lehigh‚??s superb goalie Katelyn Arnold during the second session of strokes, Holmes saw mom protecting the net instead.
‚??The summer before, I would always practice strokes with my mom,‚?Ě Holmes laughed. ‚??She‚??d get all dressed up in catcher‚??s gear. I just thought back to the summer. All the pressure went away.‚?Ě
Her teammates thought they were headed away from the Whitehall High School field and into Saturday‚??s second round of states, too, when Holmes found the back of the net.
But contrary to what Sem players say they were informed by officials, the second round of penalty strokes wasn‚??t in a sudden death format.
‚??I guess it‚??s supposed to be two rounds of five players,‚?Ě Dressler, Sem‚??s goalie, said of the state‚??s penalty stroke format. ‚??The ref told us after the first round of five it‚??s sudden death.‚?Ě
So Sem started celebrating what they believed was a victory after Holmes hit the mark.
‚??We thought we won,‚?Ě Klassner said. ‚??It was a good five or six minutes, then they called us back and said, ‚??Oh no, you‚??re not done yet.‚??‚?Ě
‚??We were embarrassed,‚?Ě Holmes said. ‚??We‚??ve had a lot of second chances this year, with (Holy) Redeemer and Crestwood. We know our luck‚??s run out.
‚??Luckily, we got to celebrate twice.‚?Ě
That‚??s because, rather than concerning herself with stress, Holmes returned to the field and coolly pushed a slow roller into the net to secure Sem‚??s victory for good.
‚??I swear to God, I don‚??t try to do that,‚?Ě Holmes said of her tricky shot. ‚??Even when we practice, everybody tells me it just looks so fluid and casual. I‚??m the least intense stroker. Other players try to line up their shot. I just walk up and do it.‚?Ě
Dressler‚??s defense did the trick to Sem, as she made six saves while stopping Southern Lehigh‚??s penalty strokers.
‚??She gets most of ours in practice,‚?Ě Holmes said. ‚??We had full faith in her.‚?Ě
Yet, Dressler may have had the most difficult job of them all. She was forced to switch gears on the fly, turning off the elation of Sem‚??s premature celebration in time to flip a switch to turn her full focus back on when the teams were called back into action.
‚??Hannah, she had to go back in there and get her concentration back,‚?Ě Klassner said. ‚??That‚??s tough.‚?Ě
It turned out, though, the first taste of victory Tuesday only increased Sem‚??s appetite for a second.
‚??We were so excited,‚?Ě Dressler said, ‚??and there was an opportunity it could happen again.‚?Ě
But only after Sem discovered a resiliency the team couldn‚??t have known it possessed.
‚??It was kind of a stressful evening, to say the least,‚?Ě Klassner said. ‚??In the long run, I think it‚??s going to be good for us. We went through the equivalent of another full game.‚?Ě
It may even lead the Blue Knights to a longer road in the state tournament.
‚??We definitely had to win,‚?Ě Holmes said. ‚??We‚??ve been working together since August. We were not going to let ourselves lose.‚?Ě
vs. Villa Maria Academy
1 p.m. Saturday
at Emmaus High School