Ex­eter un­able to stop Oley Val­ley’s three-peat

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Jeff De­wees For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

SHILLING­TON >> Oley Val­ley head field hockey coach Tif­fany Cap­pel­lano blushed at the ques­tion of whether her Lynx are a Berks League dy­nasty, but she didn’t deny it, ei­ther.

Oley Val­ley con­tin­ued its run of Berks cham­pi­onships on Oct. 17 with a 3-2 win over Ex­eter in the field hockey league cham­pi­onship game, held at Mif­flin Sta­dium. The win se­cured a third straight ti­tle for the Lynx.

Ju­nior mid­fielder Sophia Gladieux scored twice for the Lynx, in­clud­ing the go-ahead goal early in the sec­ond half.

Cap­pel­lano – in her eighth sea­son as head coach, a pro­gram alumna and a mem­ber of the 1997 state cham­pi­onship squad – de­flected praise, in­stead laud­ing her head coach, Donna Long, for cre­at­ing Oley Val­ley’s run of con­tin­ued field hockey ex­cel­lence.

“I’m a prod­uct of the pro­gram,” Cap­pel­lano said. “Donna Long cre­ated this. She in­stilled in me so many life lessons and so many good things in or­der for me to come in and con­tinue to do what she was do­ing. I’m for­ever grate­ful for her for that.

“Know­ing what it feels like (a state cham­pi­onship), I want this so much for this group of girls. They work so hard all year round. It’s not just a fall sport for these girls.”

Cor­ralling yet an­other league cham­pi­onship tro­phy was not an easy get for Cap­pel­lano’s squad. The Ea­gles jumped in front just 3:37 into the game on Ari­ana Kline’s marker from in close. Ex­eter con­tin­ued its op­por­tunis­tic play for 15 min­utes, lead­ing on the stat sheet as well as the score­board.

It all changed with roughly 12 min­utes to play in the first half, when Oley’s pass­ing game fi­nally be­gan to click. That led to a flurry of cor­ners, 10 in all. With a stel­lar sus­tained de­fen­sive dis­play, the Ea­gles de­fended all 10, but the field in­creas­ingly felt tilted to­ward one end.

“It was the girls set­tling into the play, not giv­ing up and re­ally try­ing to fol­low the game plan and get into our pass­ing game,” Cap­pel­lano said, “be­cause we strug­gled with that. Earn­ing those cor­ners was some­thing we were hop­ing to do. They were tough on cor­ners be­cause they’re so fast. You have to give (Ex­eter) a lot a credit. They were on point. We weren’t get­ting sec­ond and third shots off.”

Af­ter that sus­tained pres­sure, the break­through fi­nally came with 42 sec­onds to play in the first half, when Bailee Christman equal­ized for Oley Val­ley from close range – off a re­bound – and squared the af­fair at 1-all.

“That was huge,” Cap­pel­lano said. “The equal­izer is al­ways huge. You can’t give up, you can’t play not to lose. You have to play to win and that’s one thing men­tally we’ve been work­ing on. And tonight, men­tally, I think we showed that we’re kind of there. We con­tin­ued to work.”

Gladieux gave Oley Val­ley the lead with 26:49 to play, then pot­ted what turned out to be a key in­sur­ance marker with 19:16 left, a goal that gave the Lynx a 3-1 edge.

“It was sur­real, it all hap­pened so fast,” Gladieux said of her sec­ond-half play. “Hav­ing all your team­mates sup­port you is the best feel­ing and know­ing ev­ery­body is work­ing just as hard as you are to get the ball in the back of the cage.”

Oley’s third goal proved cru­cial, when Ex­eter sliced the lead to 3-2 with 16:52 to go on a sharp one-timer off the stick of Pey­ton Halsey. Halsey was gifted a per­fect feed into the cir­cle from Tay­lor Hen­der­son and slot­ted her strike past Lynx goalie Erinn Mess­ner to the far side of the cage.

But that tally would prove to be Ex­eter’s fi­nal shot on tar­get. BCIAA cham­pi­onship At Gover­nor Mif­flin Sta­dium Oley Val­ley 3, Ex­eter 2 First half E - Ari­ana Kline (Pey­ton Halsey), 26:23 OV - Bailee Christman (Sophia Mack­rella), :42 Sec­ond half OV - Sophia Gladieux, 26:49 OV - Gladieux, 19:16 E - Halsey (Tay­lor Hen­der­son), 16:52 Shots on goal OV8,E4 Cor­ners OV13,E3 Saves OV (Erinn Mess­ner) 2, E (Gabby Boyer) 5 Half­time score: 1-1


The Oley Val­ley field hockey team poses with the BCIAA cham­pi­onship tro­phy af­ter win­ning the ti­tle over Ex­eter on Oct. 17.

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