Pine-Richland celebrates 1st WPIAL field hockey title

Sunday, November 5, 2017 | 11:00 PM

For the first time in school history, the Pine-Richland field hockey team won the WPIAL Class AAA championship after dispatching rival North Allegheny 4-0 last week.

The Rams (16-2) received a first-half goal from Marina Miller and two goals from Vivian Cavanaugh to start off the second half before Alexa Sharon notched the final score. Goalkeeper Abby Baratka earned the shutout in the decisive win as the Tigers (12-7) were not able to muster a shot on net.

“It feels tremendous. Ever since I started the program here, it's always been something that our kids strived for and hoped for. This group of girls has contributed since they were freshmen, and every year they've gone a little bit farther and done a little better,” Pine-Richland coach Donna Stephenson said.

“This was one of their goals, they wanted the section title and they wanted the WPIAL championship.”

Their third win against North Allegheny this season came at the end of a WPIAL playoff run that saw Pine-Richland outscore opponents 11-0 in two postseason games. The defensive shutouts were aided by the stellar defensive work of Ava Loskoch, Keegan Kline and Sarah Mooney.

Meanwhile, on offense, throughout the regular season, Sarah Metzmaier led the charge with 30 goals and 19 assists. In the title game, role players like Cavanaugh and Alora Sharon stepped up to lead the way.

“Vivian is our right forward, and she's right behind Sarah Metzmaier as our No. 2 scorer. She might get overshadowed by Sarah sometimes, but she's so important to what we do,” Stephenson said.

“Alora Sharon is our center mid, and she plays alongside two of our strongest mids, Molly Rottinghaus and Marina Miller, so she has been an unsung hero over the course of the season. They've both been so solid and consistent. They've really excelled in their roles and made a big different for us on the field.”

Freshman Ella Rottinghaus assisted on both of Cavanaugh's goals. According to Cavanaugh, her ability to get free for scoring opportunities was a result of the strong chemistry she developed with her teammates.

“They were actually very similar goals, the two that I scored. Ella Rottinghaus dribbled it down the baseline and passed it in to me, and each time I was able to slap it in to the left corner of the goal, and both shots just went in for me,” Cavanaugh said.

“We definitely work well together. It's awesome, we just worked really hard this year and put in a lot of hours in practice. I think we deserved it this year, it was our year.”

Pine-Richland advanced to the PIAA tournament, which was set to begin Tuesday.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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