Fox Chapel Beats Pine-Richland to Repeat as WPIAL 3-A Champs
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 | 12:48 AM
The Fox Chapel Foxes used a dominant possession and attacking offense in the 3A WPIAL Field Hockey Championship game to defeat the Pine-Richland Rams 3-1 and capture the gold medal for the second consecutive season.
After an early opportunity at the near post for Pine-Richland’s Alora Sharron which deflected away from the goal, the Foxes picked up the attack and dominated the offense for most of the game. The hard work paid off for Fox Chapel when sophomore forward Sydney Condron scored the game’s first goal at (24:32) of the first half. Condron was working down low along the left end line when she centered the ball and it deflected passed Rams goalkeeper Kierstin Coup to give Fox Chapel a 1-0 lead.
The Foxes continued their onslaught but couldn’t get a second goal right away despite a 16-6 advantage in penalty corners on the night. Their persistence paid off when North Carolina bound Abby Pitcairn banged home her 29th goal of the year after one of the corner chances. The junior midfielder found herself open on the right side and after she picked up her own rebound, she beat Coup to the far side at (21:48) to give Fox Chapel a 2-goal lead.
But after Pine-Richland head coach Donna Stephenson called a timeout, her team responded with its only goal to make it interesting down the stretch. Junior forward Sarah Metzmaier was able to steer a loose ball passed Fox Chapel sophomore goalkeeper Marissa Hardiman to make the score 2-1 at (27:13).
But with the Rams trying to press for the game tying goal, forward Paige Ryan was able to force a loose ball and turn the counter attack into a breakaway goal with : 39 remaining to make the final score 3-1. The goal was the 28th of the season for the Michigan State bound junior.
The score in this contest could have been much worse had it not been for the play of the senior Coup in net who was solid if not spectacular while under constant pressure from the Foxes. Also notable in the game was senior defender Chalinda Schleicher, who made four outstanding defensive saves on the goal-line in the game while backing up her senior teammate.
The win gave the Foxes their fourth overall field hockey title, while Pine-Richland finished as the runner-up for the second time in three seasons.
For the first time, both teams from 3A will head to the PIAA Playoffs to represent the WPIAL. The Foxes as the District 7 champions will face the third place finisher from District 3.
While the Rams will hit the road to face the 2nd place team from District 3, whose championship and consolation games are set for this weekend, The first round of the 3A state playoffs begins next Tuesday November the 8th.