Penn-Trafford field hockey chasing 6th consecutive WPIAL title

Sunday, September 12, 2021 | 10:01 AM

Penn-Trafford field hockey coach Cindy Dutt liked what she saw from her squad in two scrimmages this season.

It was a time for her to see her team’s weaknesses.

After identifying what her team had to work on, Dutt watched the Warriors open the season by shutting out Norwin, 7-0.

Sophomore Ava Hershberger had three goals and three assists, and Delaney Shusko had three goals. Haley Gasior also scored.

Senior Gwen Hershberger, Ava’s older sister, recorded the shutout in goal.

The Hershbergers were the team’s only returning starters.

Penn-Trafford has won five consecutive WPIAL Class 2A titles (2016-20), and Dutt expects her team will be in the running for a sixth. The Warriors were Class 3A champions in 2011.

“We graduated 11 players from last year’s squad,” Dutt said. “We had a lot of depth, and we don’t have that this season. What we do have is more speed and skill. We had a lot of girls that played club this past year.

“We have team full of utility players, and that’s a good thing. They’re playing well together.”

Among the 11 girls to graduate were Emma Little (Bloomsburg), Ali Doran (Mercyhurst) and Claire Tylka (Elizabethtown).

Also back are top reserves Delaney Lentz, a senior midfielder, and Maddy Keenan, a junior forward.

“We have a brand-new group,” Dutt said. “The scrimmages gave us information we needed. Most of the girls didn’t start but did see action. We were experimenting against Shady Side Academy.”

The other scrimmage was against Class 3A Pine-Richland.

“We’re retooling for sure,” Dutt said. “The girls that played indoor club learned to make quick decisions, battle for positions and learned the ability to read plays.

“How we fare against the teams in Class 2A depends how well we develop as a team. Steel sharpens steel.”

There are four other teams in Class AA: Fox Chapel, Upper St. Clair, Oakland Catholic and Latrobe.

“We have a good group of girls,” Dutt said. “I’m excited to see how things work out. I feel we have a good chance at reaching the finals again.”

Penn-Trafford defeated Fox Chapel in the championship game last season. Dutt said it was the best game she had seen her team play.

She also expects Upper St. Clair to field a strong team, and Oakland Catholic should be improved under its new coach.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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