FIELD HOCKEY: Palmyra handles Hershey, moves to 4-0
PALMYRA>> Hershey scored with two minutes to go Monday in a hyped early-season field hockey showdown against a division foe. The resulting cheer from the Trojans' bench sounded as if they had just claimed a title.
But their celebration would not last 22 game seconds. For Palmyra senior Kylie Gallagher was going to finish what she'd started.
Gallagher scored the first and third Cougar goals of a 3-1 home win over Hershey, carrying Palmyra to 4-0 on the season. Defender Katelyn Mark netted the team's middle score, an effort set up by senior Jess Dembrowski after a penalty corner at under 18 minutes to go. The Cougars then held their comfortable lead until Hershey's Taylor Massage struck at 2:06 remaining with help from Katie McCartney.
GOAL, Palmyra. Katelyn Marks score on a feed from Jess Dembrowski. 2-0 Cougars at 17:55 remaining. @GameTimePA_SCpic.twitter.com/QkXniZuuWT— Andrew Callahan (@ACallahan_LDN) September 14, 2015
A whistle then blew and, after an initial Palmyra offensive surge, Gallagher took it from there.
"We really wanted to get it back because it was late in the game," Gallagher said of her second goal. "They tried to clear it, but it bounced too far and I hit it in."
Goals were impossible to come by over a scoreless opening half for both squads, though certainly not due to lack of chances. The Cougars dominated for long stretches and racked up 17 penalty corners by game's end. Their issue simply became penetrating Hershey's packed defense once they had arrived inside the circle.
"They have a very good defensive corner team and they come out hard and fast," Palmyra coach Kristi Costello said. "It was hard for us to figure out how to get the ball moving."
The Cougars' first breakthrough came via a successful rebound try by Gallagher at 26:11 left, with an assist credited to Lexi Smith. The senior's goal was not only a welcome sight for Cougar faithful, but a long-awaited one for her head coach.
"We've been trying to find her and get the ball to her. I was just really happy to see her finish today," Costello said. "I've been telling her to shoot the ball, shoot the ball. And so she really came through in the circle, found the ball and took advantage of her opportunities."
The Trojans then missed on a handful of chances, either in transition or while working up close against the Palmyra defense. In particular, the speedy Mya Christopher gave the Cougars problems down the right wing, but when she exited with a card, Mark knocked in her score to go up two.
And when Hershey responded roughly 15 minutes later, Gallagher was there to make a statement and shut the door.
"I've learned they're resilient," Costello said. "They're able to work through some tough situations and tonight I think they were able to work through that together."
Palmyra 3, Hershey 1
First half — None
Second half — P: Kylie Gallagher 2, Katelyn Mark. H: Taylor Massage.
Assists — P: Jess Dembrowski, Lexi Smith. H: Katie McCartney.
Shots on goal — Palmyra 11, Hershey 5.
Corners — Palmyra 17, Hershey 3.
Goalies — P: Cheyenne Sprecher (4 saves). H: Kit Olmsted (7).