Penn-Trafford sets course to win another field hockey title

Sunday, September 11, 2022 | 11:01 AM

It’s been an unusual start of the field hockey season for Penn-Trafford coach Cindy Dutt.

Illnesses have kept numerous players and coach Cindy Dutt away from practices.

Despite the absences, Penn-Trafford is 2-1 with wins against Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon, both Class 3A teams, before falling to Class 3A three-time champion Pine-Richland. Numerous starters were missing against Pine-Richland.

Before the Warriors start section play against Latrobe on Monday, they face reigning Class A champion Shady Side Academy and Class 3A North Allegheny.

“When we’re healthy, we’re pretty good,” Dutt said. “But were missing a lot of players now, I just hope to have them back for the start of section play.”

The Warriors faced always tough Fox Chapel on Sept. 14.

Penn-Trafford has won the past six WPIAL Class 2A titles. The Warriors graduated seven starters, including goalkeeper Gwen Hershberger, who now plays at Ohio University, and Delaney Lentz, who is playing at Division I Lindenwood.

Dutt will be counting on seven returning starters, including junior Ava Hershberger, last season’s leading scorer. She’s already scored eight goals, including five against Mt. Lebanon.

Also back are senior midfielder Sidney Bauer, senior midfielder Emily Bloom, senior hold midfielder Maddy Keenan, senior forward Ella Morocco, senior Megan McBarron and junior forward Mackenzie Keenan.

Senior Olivia Bankosh will step in as the goaltender. She played behind Gwen Hershberger last season; Dutt said she learned a lot and is ready to take the reins.

“We have a lot of girls stepping up,” Dutt said. “I’m excited about some of the new faces in the lineup.”

Senior Gracie Eshelman, junior Morgan McBriar, junior Brooke Teaman and speedy sophomore Giuliana Youngo are expected to fill in.

Others seeing a lot of playing time are juniors Phoebe Gross, Alyssa Paulone and Emma Young and sophomore Rilie Moors. Junior Nessa Wright is serving as the backup goalkeeper.

Penn-Trafford has 35 players on the roster.

“We have a good group of girls,” Dutt said. “They know what it takes, and they are putting in the work.

“A lot of these girls have learned a lot from playing with or watching Ava. We have a team that wants to be the best. Hopefully we can get healthy soon.”

Penn-Trafford has won seven WPIAL titles all-time.

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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