Penn-Trafford field hockey gaining ground on PIAA competition

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Sunday, November 22, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Since Cindy Dutt took over the Penn-Trafford field hockey program, the gap between her team and teams in Eastern Pennsylvania has shrunk.

But the Warriors, who claimed their fifth consecutive WPIAL Class AA title this season, are searching still for that elusive first win in the PIAA playoffs.

“When we won in 2016 and played Selinsgrove, we lost 7-0 or 8-0,” Dutt said. “They overpowered us. We’ve really closed the gap, and if it wasn’t for a fluky play, we might have won. I was really proud how well we played.”

Selinsgrove, the District 4 champion, ended Penn-Trafford’s season with a 3-1 victory in the state quarterfinals.

Even though Penn-Trafford will graduate 11 seniors, including 10 starters, Dutt does not expect much of a drop off.

“We’re losing six two-year starters and four three-year starters,” Dutt said. “But we were able to play a lot of girls this season who are ready to step up next season. A lot of the players plan on playing a lot of club field hockey, which will help.”

Penn-Trafford finished the season 13-1.

Graduating are three-year starters Allyson Doran, Emma Little, Julia Moorhead and Nina Bowling and two-year starters Claire Tylka, Maria DiNapoli, Carleigh Drakulic, Paige Goggin, Courtney Kravetz and Hannah Ondulich, and Caitlin Spadone.

Doran, Little, Moorhead and freshman Ava Hershberger were first-team all-WPIAL selections, while Tylka and junior Delaney Lentz earned honorable mention status.

Hershberger was the team’s leading scorer with 19 goals and 12 assists. Doran had 12 goals and 12 assists, Moorhead 10 goals and Little seven.

Also back is junior goalie Gwen Hershberger, junior defender Delaney Shusko and Lentz.

“We had a lot of unsung heroes,” Dutt said. “Gwen was outstanding in goal, and the two Delaneys were strong. When I’d substitute players, the level of play didn’t drop off. Everyone that played could be an all-star in my eyes.”

Doran is interested in playing field hockey in college. One of her choices is Mercyhurst. Tylka, a defender, is committed to Elizabethtown.

Dutt said she’s also encouraged that so many players want to join club teams.

“I know these girls will put in the work to improve,” Dutt said. “I expect a lot will play in national tournaments. I’m not pushing them to work all offseason because I want them to be hungry to play next August.

“Class AA is getting better. There are a lot of good teams … Fox Chapel, Latrobe and Upper St. Clair will be improved. I’m really excited about next season already.”

That’s when Penn-Trafford will attempt to play for its sixth consecutive WPIAL title.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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