Mag­notta, My­tych, Wes­neski lead Blue Kights.

The Citizens' Voice - - Sports - BY MATT BUFANO STAFF WRITER

WHITE­HALL — Mia Mag­notta was the youngest player in ei­ther start­ing lineup Tues­day night.

The eight se­niors, five ju­niors and eight sopho­mores — some with high-pro­file col­lege com­mit­ments and prior all­state ac­co­lades — out­ranked the Wy­oming Sem­i­nary fresh­man goal­keeper.

Mag­notta knew it, too, but it didn’t mat­ter for the 60 most pres­surepacked min­utes of her young var­sity ca­reer.

Aubrey My­tych and Alex Wes­neski scored first-half goals that gave Mag­notta and the Sem de­fense a lead it pro­tected with all its might, beat­ing Oley Val­ley, 2-0, in the PIAA Class A field hockey semi­fi­nals.

“It’s so ex­cit­ing to be a fresh­man, but to have an amaz­ing team to sup­port me,” Mag­notta said.

“To win with these girls is like the best feel­ing in my life. I know I’m lit­tle, but it’s prob­a­bly one of the best feel­ings I’ve ever felt.”

The District 2 cham­pion Blue Knights (20-0) re­turn to White­hall 10 a.m. Satur­day, when they’ll play District 3 third-seed Green­wood for the state ti­tle.

While Sem has won six state cham­pi­onships un­der head coach Karen Klass­ner, Green­wood, a 3-1 win­ner Tues­day against New­port, is play­ing in its first state fi­nal.

“I told the kids on the bus (be­fore the game), ‘You’re go­ing to have to play the game of your life.’ They played the game of their life tonight,” Klass­ner said. “But now, we just said to them, ‘You gotta have one more.’”

Wy­oming Sem­i­nary con­trolled much of the first half, tak­ing a 1-0 lead at 21:24 when Ju­lia Chris­tian sent in a shot of at least 20 yards.

The ball found My­tych’s stick, which di­rected the ball into the back of the cage for a go-ahead score.

The Blue Knights upped their lead to 2-0 af­ter forc­ing con­sec­u­tive penalty cor­ners at the end of the first half.

Fi­nally, on their third try, Cam­ryn Lit­jens sent the ball in and Wes­neski raised her stick at point-blank range in front of the goal.

“I saw it up in the air. Might as well go for it,” Wes­neski said. “I just hit it in and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.”

An Ohio State com­mit, Oley Val­ley se­nior goal­keeper Rachel Le­van fin­ished with five saves and kept Sem off the score­board in the sec­ond half.

Mean­while, Oley Val­ley ramped up the of­fen­sive pres­sure in the sec­ond half, even play­ing to an 11-on-9 ad­van­tage for about two min­utes.

“You could not let them back into the game and that’s what we were wor­ried about,” Klass­ner said. “Our de­fense was ex­cep­tional at the end of the game. Everybody stepped up and that’s what you need to do at this level. When you’re play­ing in the state semi­fi­nal, it should be a game like this.”

The mid­field­ers did an ex­cel­lent job filling po­si­tions and not al­low­ing some of Oley Val­ley’s dy­namic scor­ers — like sopho­more Sophia Gladieux, who scored 50 goals this year — to get open.

Se­nior de­fend­ers Lit­jens and Emily Sims and ju­nior Kate Bar­illa played well di­rectly in front of Mag­notta, who knocked away both shots on goal she faced to se­cure the shutout.

“They were so com­mu­nica­tive,” Mag­notta said of her team­mates. “They were telling me to watch this, watch that, and I was talk­ing back to them. It’s so help­ful. I have the best de­fen­sive line. They’re so amaz­ing and so help­ful and we con­nect very well.”

While Satur­day’s state cham­pi­onship is fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for Klass­ner, it’s brand new to her play­ers.

Sem last com­peted in the PIAA play­offs in 2013, when the Blue Knights won it all in Class 2A.

“We spent so much en­ergy on the side­lines that I need a mo­ment to rest,” Klass­ner quipped. “I’m get­ting too old for this. But it doesn’t get old, I gotta tell ya. Our kids just played a re­ally great game.”

FIRST HALF: Aubrey My­tych (Sem) from Ju­lia Chris­tian, 21:24; Alex Wes­neski (Sem) from Cam­ryn Lit­jens, 0:00. Shots-cor­ners: Sem 7-8, OV 4-5. Saves: Sem (Mia Mag­notta) 2, OV (Rachel Le­van) 5.

CHRISTO­PHER DOLAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Wy­oming Sem­i­nary play­ers, from left, Ju­lia Chris­tian, Han­nah Maxwell and Alex Wes­neski, walk off the field af­ter de­feat­ing Oley Val­ley 2-0 in the PIAA Class A semi­fi­nals on Tues­day at White­hall High School.

CHRISTO­pHER DOlAN / STAff pHOTOgRApHER

Wy­oming Sem­i­nary’s Aubrey My­tych moves the ball past Oley Val­ley’s Sarah Beers dur­ing the PIAA Class A semi­fi­nal on Tues­day at White­hall High School.

CHRISTO­pHER DOlAN / STAff pHOTOgRApHER

Wy­oming Sem­i­nary’s Alex Wes­neski, left, and Aubrey My­tych cel­e­brate a goal dur­ing the PIAA Class A semi­fi­nal against Oley Val­ley on Tues­day at White­hall.

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