Northern Lebanon really got carried away in the defensive zone during the Lancaster-Lebanon League field hockey quarter-final on Saturday night in Ephrata.
It seemed like the right strategy for the Vikings.
However, when faced with a player like Mallory Kline senior of the Mountaineers, sometimes even a defensive shell doesn’t completely work.
Kline scored two goals and helped Ephrata keep control of the ball for almost every 60 minutes as the Mountaineers won 3-0.
âMal is one of a kind, and she’ll never tell you that she’s one of a kind. You would never know if you met her,â said Ephrata’s trainer, Joy Rice. Phenomenal batting skills and has really improved throughout the season, she’s fun to watch.
Ephrata improved to 15-4 and will face Penn Manor in the semi-finals Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Donegal. The winner of this match will face the winner between Manheim Township and Donegal, who will face off at 5 p.m.
The Mountaineers outscored the Vikings 17-2 for the game and posted a 13-3 advantage in the corners. Still, the rating was at a premium early on.
Yet even with northern Lebanon focusing on defense, Kline’s sensational individual effort opened the scoring almost nine minutes later.
Working in transition, Kline lined the ball up in midfield, made several moves back and forth, slipping defenders along the way before slipping a shot past Vikings goalkeeper Cala Martino.
âWhen the forwards move around it definitely opens up a lot of room for me to shoot,â Kline said. âIt’s fun playing with a group of girls who come out at each practice ready to play. It is also useful. They really want it and that’s obvious.
The Mounts managed eight corners in the first half, but led just 1-0 at the break.
âYou bring it in and you’re like, ‘That looked good. “But it’s 1-0 and what we always say in 1-0 games is that they’re tied,” Rice said. “It was worrying, but yet it felt like we were in control.”
Rice added that facing a defensive style could help his team.
âWe’re going to play against teams like that. Penn Manor does this, âshe said. âIt’s good for us to have to find ways to work around these teams. Rapid transition is the name of the game.
Kline said it can be frustrating not to score. She credited northern Lebanon (7-10) with keeping her team at bay.
âEspecially when we’re in the circle for pretty much the entire game. We just have to stick with it and do what we do in training, âshe said. âThey were messed up. It was definitely a different environment.
Finally, less than two minutes from the end of the third quarter, Anna Commero hit a ball up close, for a margin of 2-0.
Kline capped the score by scoring a penalty stroke with 8:33 remaining.
Martino finished with 12 saves for the Vikings, who also got saves from defensemen Autumn Bohr and Hope Ritchie.