Springfield settles down to blank Rustin
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.
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.