LEWISBURG — Two field hockey programs destined for the District 4 playoffs — Lewisburg and Bloomsburg — met in a key Heartland Athletic Conference Division II matchup on Tuesday.
And with the start of the district playoffs only a couple of weeks away, the contest between the top two teams in the HAC-I was a good barometer of how ready the Green Dragons are for the postseason.
Lewisburg took every shot Bloomsburg delivered, and the Panthers did the same, as the Green Dragons held on to earn a 1-1 tie at the Pawling Athletic Complex.
“Both us and Bloomsburg — you had two really good teams playing — and it was a great game,” said Lewisburg coach Daneen Zaleski. “It was a very hard-fought match, and it was a well-played game by both teams.
“We had a few chances (to score), but that’s the game. It happens,” added Lewisburg’s coach. “Balls don’t always go the way you want them too.”
Bloomsburg (10-1-1, 7-0-2 HAC-II), which was trying to bounce back from a 4-0 loss to Line Mountain on Monday, cracked the scoring column first as Kassie Bond scored off an Erica Yodock assist 7:53 into the game.
A few minutes later Lewisburg (11-3, 6-1-1) attempted to tie the game by firing a flurry of shots on Bloomsburg’s cage, with Gaby Markunas and Rylee Dyroff each getting off good scoring chances, but Panthers’ goalkeeper Nadja Hartmann turned away each shot to keep the Green Dragons scoreless.
Finishing those opportunities, as well as keeping better possession of the ball, was a big topic of conversation at halftime for the Lewisburg coaching staff and their players.
“At halftime we talked a little, and the girls knew they weren’t out of (the game). We were only one goal down and they know they can score,” said Zaleski. “They came back and we ultimately put one in and tied it up — and then (we) were on from there.”
Gaby Markunas did the honors by firing home an unassisted goal with 24:22 left in regulation to tie the game for Lewisburg. Markunas’ goal was the first time Bloomsburg has given up a goal to a fellow HAC-II team all season long.
“Well, when you’re down a goal whoever scores is always going to give you a spark,” said Zaleski. “Gaby did a great job and we needed (that goal). She was in position and she was there (by the left post of the cage), and that’s the forward’s job (to score those types of goals).”
Following Markunas’ goal Lewisburg kept the pressure on Bloomsburg’s defense and dominated possession for the remainder of the game, but Hartmann was a wall in front of the cage.
Kara Koch and Markunas both had scoring chances thwarted in the second half. Markunas, along with Dyroff and Izzy Zaleski, also had scoring opportunities that were cleared away in overtime, with Zaleski’s shot coming with a mere 20 seconds remaining in overtime.
“We did (have better looks at the goal after halftime). Izzy at the end there, she was like, ‘Oh, I wish (I could’ve gotten that in),” said coach Zaleski. “We had many chances all throughout the game.”
Lewisburg next plays at Muncy in a non-league matchup today at 4 p.m., before the Green Dragons travel to Danville for a HAC-II battle against the Ironmen.
“In our (postgame chat) I said this is what we’re going to see from here on out. So, first to the ball, be on your toes, play fast and you just have to be moving the whole time — that’s Line Mountain and that’s Bloomsburg,” said coach Zaleski. “We’re a fast team, too, and it’s a battle (with those teams).”
“I’m pleased with the way my girls played (Tuesday). The girls were down and they fought back, and that shows a lot of effort and desire — and they showed that in their play,” added Lewisburg’s coach.
Lewisburg 1, Bloomsburg 1 (OT)
Bloom-Kassie Bond, assist Erica Yodock, 22:07.
Lew-Gaby Markunas, unassisted, 24:22.
Shots: Lewisburg, 16-8; Corners: Lewisburg, 9-3; Saves:
Lewisburg, Kerstin Koons, 7; Bloomsburg, Nadja Hartmann, 15.
JV score: Bloomsburg, 2-1.