STATE COLLEGE — District 6 champion State College Lions blanked District 7 champion Fox Chapel in a frigid 5-0 play-in game Tuesday and advanced to the main bracket in the PIAA Class AAA Field Hockey Tournament.
Taylor Meily and Kathryn Henry each tallied two goals for the Little Lady Lions, who spent most of the contest deep in Fox Chapel territory. State College (15-4-1) will face the fifth place team out of District 5 on Tuesday in the 16-team PIAA bracket. Wilson (15-8) and Twin Valley (21-2-1) will play for that spot on Saturday.
“I think we came out with the intensity we needed to win,” Meily said. “Offensively we were really dominating and controlling the field.”
Henry, a junior, scored the game’s first goal after Paige Meily threaded a pass from the right wing through the center of the Fox Chapel defense where Henry guided the ball past the Foxes’ goaltender Alaina George with 23:22 left in the first half.
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Almost 10 minutes later Henry was at it again, stuffing home a rebound after a shot caromed off Alaina George with 13:14 left in the half.
“It felt great because coach was really telling us to start off strong,” Henry said.
First year head coach Karin Johnson, told her players to play through the cold and attack early and often. “My girls knew right from the start that we needed to have urgency, have quickness and pressure the ball right away,” Johnson said. “Yesterday, we practiced in the cold and that really prepared them for the elements. But we live in Central Pa. — there’s no question it’s going to be cold.”
Lauren Bonness tapped in the third State College goal off a centering pass from Taylor Meily with 25:02 left in the second half.
Taylor Meily, a senior, netted her first goal when she hit a pinball-shot that ricocheted off a few legs after a nice corner pass from Teresa Lesher with 10:15 left in the second half. Meily finished off Fox Chapel when she rifled in a shot from the top of the circle that rattled in the back left corner of the goal after another nice corner pass from Lesher with just 1:20 left.
“The first one was really ugly, I’m not gonna lie,” Taylor Meily said. “The second one it was just right to the post…I just saw the opportunity and took it far post.”
Taylor Meily will be playing field hockey next season for the University of Delaware where she has earned a scholarship, but for now she’s happy to keep her high school career alive.
“It’s really exciting because we are just one of 16 teams (in the state),” Meily said. “And, our team since I’ve been here has only made it this far one other time…so it’s really exciting and hopefully we’ll make it all the way to the championship.”