Vikings' Goalie Is Equal To The Pressure In The Final Moment

Posted: November 01, 1993

West Chester East goalie Laura Manley knew that the pressure was on. The Vikings and Neshaminy were headed into the stroke portion of their 0-0 deadlocked PIAA District 1 Class AAA field hockey quarterfinal game Thursday at Perkiomen Valley.

But Manley was well prepared. She had made several brilliant stops in the second half of the game and two extra periods, enabling the Vikings to survive that far.

Strokes are used to determine a winner if teams remain tied after two 10- minute overtime periods. The teams are restricted to seven players.

Manley managed to block three of Neshaminy's five penalty strokes - a fourth went wide - to give second-seeded East a 2-1 edge in strokes and a berth in one of Wednesday's semifinals, against third-seeded Council Rock of the Suburban One League. The match will be played at Wissahickon.

Defending district champion Unionville and Methacton will meet in the other semifinal. That will be played at either Springfield (M) or Conestoga.

"The more I got to play, the more excited and psyched I got," Manley said after blocking the Redskins' last stroke, by their top scorer, Natalie Savage. It was the first time this season that Manley, who usually splits the goaltending duties with Frances Segarra, faced strokes. Segarra, who went through strokes in the Lower Dauphin tournament, played the first half Thursday and did an admirable job with six saves.

"This is not the kind of thing you can get ready for," Manley said of the strokes. "I knew that I had to stop that last shot or we would have to score again."

Kendra Basner gave East a 1-0 edge in strokes after Manley blocked a shot by Heather Gorlasky, the Redskins' first stroker. Diane Foley, Neshaminy's second shooter, tied it at 1 when she beat Manley to the left corner of the net. A shot by the Redskins' Amy Swope was wide of the cage, but things remained deadlocked when Neshaminy goalie Sara Hill stopped shots by the Vikings' Amy Zahurak and Jill Widdis.

Susanne Atkins made it 2-1 East with a shot past a diving Hill's left side. When Manley stopped Savage's shot, it was all over.

The goalkeeping and a defense led by Kirsten Blakeman - she was all over the field - enabled East to escape. Neshaminy, which fell to 16-4 with the loss, can secure a slot in the state playoffs with a win against Ridley, a 1-0 quarterfinal loser to Methacton, in a consolation match tomorrow afternoon at a site to be determined. The top five teams in the district all advance to the state rounds.

Neshaminy dominated much of the game, holding a 17-6 margin in penalty corners. Hill only had to make two saves in her 80 minutes of play.

"It was a tough loss," said Redskins coach Linda Pelligrino. "I can't complain. We outplayed them, but we just couldn't get the ball to go in the net.

"This (strokes) was a new experience for us. We had never done this before. Our girls are used to one-on-one (in which a player dribbles in on the goal from the circle)," Pellegrino said. One-on-one was eliminated this year and the stroke format was revived.

Both teams missed big scoring chances in the overtime periods, but the goalies were up to the challenge. Manley made two big stops with less than 30 seconds to play in the first overtime, then made a third one with three minutes to play in the second.

"We lost two goals by being offsides," said a relieved Diane Horsey, the Vikings' coach, after the game. "We hit the ball to them (Neshaminy) too much all afternoon."

Blakeman refused to blame a delay in the game's start - the field had to be re-lined - for the Vikings' sluggishness.

"I don't think it bothered us," she said. "We just started very slowly. We picked up some momentum in the second half, but Neshaminy's a good team."

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