Pine-Richland makes it 4 in a row in WPIAL Class 3A field hockey championship game
Saturday, October 29, 2022 | 7:14 PM
The Pine-Richland field hockey team finished off its four-peat in style.
Pine-Richland earned its fourth consecutive WPIAL crown and did so with its 16th shutout of the season. The team celebrated by dumping a Gatorade cooler on Rams coach Donna Stephenson.
“These seniors are undefeated in the WPIAL over the last four years,” Stephenson said. “I don’t know what to say without getting emotional. These kids owned it. They put their heart into it, and they put the team first. It’s not about any individual player. It’s about the team. I never thought we’d get four in a row.”
It was the third win of the year for the Rams (19-0-1) over the Tigers (13-5-1). They won 2-1 in overtime Sept. 27 and 3-1 in the regular season finale Oct. 20.
The Rams got goals from Emma Westerhoff, Jessica Albertson and Georgia Rottinghaus.
Westerhoff scored five minutes into the first quarter, assisted by Madeline Mill. She tapped a shot home from the side of the net.
Westerhoff is one of six seniors on the roster who finished their careers undefeated in district play.
“It’s crazy and it’s a great feeling,” Westerhoff said. “Working as a team together, we have a great dynamic. It wasn’t easy to do, but we work great together, which made it easier.”
Albertson got the Rams’ second goal less than a minute into the third quarter. She fired a shot from just inside the circle that deflected off a defender into the net. It was a big weight off the shoulders for the Rams to establish a two-goal lead.
“Jessica is an awesome player,” Rottinghaus said. “I love playing with her. I can always trust her. She has a great shot. She’s really good.”
Rottinghaus scored her goal in the fourth quarter.
North Allegheny had its best chance to score late in the first half. Mila Prusak hit a strong shot toward the net, but it hit the post and stayed out.
The Rams’ next goal is to earn the first state playoff win in school history. They’ll host a first-round match Tuesday.
“The seniors met back in June to talk about our goals,” Westerhoff said. “The first goal was section champs, second was WPIALs, and now we want to make it past the first round of states. We work really well as a team. We sometimes relied on one player in past years. Now that we’re working together better as a team, I think we can do it.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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