By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
KINGSTON – The nationally ranked Wyoming Seminary field hockey team obviously does many things well.
Converting the first scoring opportunity of the game, however, is not one of them.
“That’s unusual for us,” Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said after Maddie Olshemski turned the game’s first shot into a goal, sending the Blue Knights on the way to their fifth straight District 2 Class A title, 4-1, over Wyoming Area Wednesday at Wyoming Valley West’s Spartan Stadium.
Olshemski’s goal ended a scoreless streak of 734:37 by the Wyoming Area defense, which had shut out its previous 12 opponents.
Facing a Wyoming Area defense that is tough up the middle, Klassner moved Olshemski out and up, sending her from midfield to the right wing of the forward line.
Olshemski responded with two goals and an assist.
“We moved her out to the right wing,” Klassner said. “We told her we may have to keep her there, she looked so good. “Our offense is really clicking when we put her out there. It got our offense moving.
“It took a little pressure off Ella (Barbacci) and Emma Watchilla because (defenses) have to spread out a little bit more.”
Olshemski worked her way back up the middle for the first goal.
Watchilla received a pass as she headed up the right side and dribbled the ball deep before crossing it in front.
Olshemski redirected it into the cage on the first trip by either team into the offensive circle, opening the scoring with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
“We’ve been working on tipping a lot recently,” Olshemski said. “Since I got onto the forward line, the coaches have been working with me on that because I wasn’t very good.”
Wyoming Seminary kept clicking against a defense that offers few chances.
The Blue Knights scored on three of their first five shots. They scored four goals in each meeting with Wyoming Area, on both ends of the 12-game shutout streak by a defense that has allowed just 5 goals in 17 games all season against everyone other than the three-time defending state champions.
Watchilla took an Olshemski pass and got off a hard shot from just inside the circle in the first minute of the second quarter.
Barbacci scored on a rebound 3:17 later to make it 3-0.
At that point, Wyoming Area was still looking for its first shot or penalty corner against the defense of Maggie Barilla, Louisa Dening and Milaw Clausen.
The Lady Warriors eventually broke through on a third-quarter penalty stroke by Toni Minichello and applied some pressure with six fourth-quarter penalty corners.
Wyoming Seminary, however, was playing with the comfort of a three-goal lead for much of that fourth quarter.
Olshemski wheeled and fired a hard shot to the far post after coming up with a ball that the Wyoming defense stopped, but could not control, in the circle with 11:25 remaining.
“We really want our team to peak right now and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Klassner said. “They’re peaking for states.”
The state tournament opens at Klassner Field Nov. 9 against Susquehanna Township.