Spring­field set­tles down to blank Rustin

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Terry Toohey ttoohey@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Ter­ryToohey on Twit­ter

SPRING­FIELD >> Less than two min­utes into the sec­ond half Mon­day, Spring­field’s Mag­gie Fisher was given a green card for not giv­ing her op­po­nent enough space and was sent to the side­line for two min­utes.

Nearly 10 min­utes later, team­mate Michaela Travers was given a fiveminute yel­low card for ba­si­cally the same vi­o­la­tion.

In­stead of be­ing detri­men­tal, though, those in­frac­tions ac­tu­ally proved to be ben­e­fi­cial for the 16thseeded Cougars in a 2-0 tri­umph over No. 17 West Ch­ester Rustin Mon­day af­ter­noon in the open­ing round of the Dis­trict 1 Class 2A field hockey play­offs.

Both play­ers used their time on the side­line to calm down, col­lect their thoughts and make key con­tri­bu­tions to their team.

A lit­tle over two min­utes af­ter Fisher was re­leased from field hockey’s ver­sion of the penalty box, she fed Travers for the first goal of the game.

“I get so frus­trated that I let things get in my head,” Fisher said. “When I was taken off the field I ac­tu­ally saw for my­self what I had to do. I needed to back up and give her room.”

Ex­actly 71 sec­onds af­ter Travers was al­lowed to re­sume play, she re­turned the fa­vor and set up Fisher for an in­sur­ance goal.

“Be­ing carded was a huge deal for me, but I knew I had to calm down and wait for my five min­utes to be up,” Travers said. “And when I came back on the field the ball came right to me and we had a few shots on goal. I wasn’t go­ing to give up. That card wasn’t go­ing to stop me. It’s just one card.”

It was ac­tu­ally two cards, but nei­ther pre­vented the Cougars (7-9-1) from earn­ing their first play­off vic­tory in what is be­lieved nearly a decade.

“There’s some dis­pute on that,” Spring­field coach Maria Unger said. “We think it was 2007.”

Re­gard­less of how long it has been, the win earned Spring­field a sec­ond-round date with top-seeded Villa Maria Acad­emy (15-1) Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at 4 o’clock. Villa Maria de­feated Unionville — the No. 1 seed in the 3A tour­na­ment — and Unionville was the only team to beat Con­estoga this sea­son.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to play­ing them,” cen­ter back Gina DeBer­ardi said. “We’re a lit­tle ner­vous, but we look for­ward to play­ing them.”

Spring­field and Rustin bat­tled to a 1-1 draw in the reg­u­lar sea­son so it was no sur­prise that this was a close one. It was score­less un­til Travers put home a pass from Fisher 2 min­utes, 13 sec­onds af­ter Fisher re­turned from her stint on the side­line.

“It barely went in, but it counts,” Travers said. “A goal like that, a bounc­ing ball that you hit and goes in, can be a game-changer.”

It was, and so was Fisher’s tally. Travers kept pok­ing at a ball that was stuck between the feet of Rustin goalie Me­gan Had­field un­til it fi­nally came free. Fisher was there to fin­ish the job.

“It was just like in prac­tice,” Fisher said. “Coach says to be on goal and be on the goalie. I had my back to her and I just turned around and hit it in. You don’t re­ally think about it. You just have to fo­cus on the ball.”

Rustin had many chances. The Golden Knights (4-11-4) had nine of their 14 cor­ners in the sec­ond half. No shot, though, made its way to Spring­field goalie Cam Shea (four saves) in the sec­ond half. Play­ing on grass did not help. The Golden Knights usu­ally play on turf.

“It’s a tough tran­si­tion,” Rustin coach Mor­gan Pease said. “I think a lot of our is­sues were grass re­lated, but it came down to who cap­i­tal­ized and who didn’t. We pos­sessed the ball the ma­jor­ity of the game, we just didn’t fin­ish the chances we had.”

Spring­field did and that’s why the Cougars are mov­ing on.

Else­where in 2A: PENNCREST 5, LOWER MORE­LAND 2 >> Maitlin Combs made sure the Lions’ first trip to the play­offs in what is be­lieved to be roughly 20 years was not a short one.

Combs scored twice, in­clud­ing the go-ahead goal 13 min­utes into the sec­ond half. An­nalise McLarnon also tal­lied twice and handed out an as­sist to send the 15th-seeded Lions (10-8) into a sec­ond-round meet­ing at No. 2 Mount St. Joseph Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon (3:30).

Eliles Sims also scored, Samie Martin and Cailee Bates handed out as­sists and Brielle McQuis­ton made 13 saves in goal for Penncrest.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring­field team­mates con­grat­u­late Michaela Travers (9) af­ter she scored in the sec­ond half against West Ch­ester Rustin Mon­day at Spring­field High School. The Cougars moved on to the sec­ond round of dis­tricts with a 2-0 win and will face top-seeded Villa Maria Wed­nes­day.

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