Playing against each other for the fifth time this season, No. 5 Lackawanna Trail came from behind to beat No. 4 Northwest, 2-1, in the District 2 Class A field hockey quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“We were a little down after our loss to them in the Division Two championship game, but we were fortunate to have a short practice in the gym to address a couple of new things they had thrown at us,” said Lackawanna Trail head coach Gary Wilmet.
Lackawanna Trail went 3-2 in its season series against Northwest, which, despite losing first in the playoffs, was the WVC Division 2 regular season champion.
After a scoreless first half, Northwest briefly held a 1-0 lead when Sydney Franchella scored on an assist from Lauren Okuniewski.
However, Lackawanna Trail countered with goals by Belle Coleman and Morgan Faist to take the lead and ultimately win.
“We went down 1-0 with a little over 18 minutes left in the second half of our district play off game but Belle Coleman’s goal three minutes later started everyone’s emotions rising,” Wilmet added.
He continued, “When Morgan (Faist) put a shot in to give us the lead, we played our best defense of the year for the last five minutes of the game.”
In the game, the Rangers outshot the Lions by a more than two-to-one margin, with half of Trail’s four shots registering goals.
“When the final horn went off it was absolute joy and bedlam,” relayed Wilmet. “There were smiles and hugs all around. They knew that as a team they had played their best game from beginning to end.”
Lackawanna Trail’s season continued in the semifinals Thursday at No. 1 seed Wyoming Seminary.
In a District 2 Class 1A semifinal, the Blue Knights stopped Trail with a 7-1 win.
Alex Wesneski, an Iowa commit, scored two goals, including the 100th of her career, for the Blue Knights, who played Wyoming Area for the district championship last night at Wyoming Valley West.
Paige Hyde scored the lone goal for Lackawanna Trail, spoiling the shutout.
Lackawanna Trail ended the season with a 15-5 record.
“Most of our returning girls are members of the NEPA Force, a club team formed by our junior high head coach Laura Evans and Kelly Martin. They practice and play indoors during the winter,” said Wilmet. “During the offseason, Keystone College field hockey coach Ashley Irwin and her staff, along with Marywood University staff and players, all help out with the different age level teams. This has really helped grow our program.”
According to Wilmet, Trail also has a fall youth program run by Michelle Fahey with the help of Trial parents and players, and open practices in the summer on Keystone’s turf field.
Wilmet concluded, “The bottom line is Trail field hockey is on the upswing. We had a very successful season this year and look to be even better in years to come.”
Trail 2, Northwest 1
Second half: Sydney Franchella (NW) from Lauren Okuniewski, 18:13; Belle Coleman (LT) from Jordan Spencer, 15:34; Morgan Faist (LT) unassisted, 5:01.
Shots: LT 4, NW 10. Corners: LT 2, NW 10.
Saves: Lilly Rejrat (LT) 9, Cassidy Gray (NW) 2.
Trail 1, Wy. Sem. 7
First half: Alex Wesneski (S) from Hannah Maxwell, 11:10; Emma Watchilla (S) from Bari Lefkowitz, 12:26; Ella Barbacci (S) unassisted, 12:50; Wesneski (S) from Barbacci, 22:00; Anna Mozeleski (S) unassisted, 24:00; Barbacci (S) from Wesneski, 27:56. Second half: Barbacci (S) from Wesneski, 10:48; Paige Hyde (LT) from Jordan Spencer, 18:22.
Shots-corners: LT 7-0, Sem 28-10.
Saves: Lilly Rejrat (LT) 13; Megan Cotrone (S) 5, Mia Magnotta (S) 0.