Perk Val­ley field hockey ral­lies to beat Eas­ton in PIAA Class 3A play­offs opener.

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Nash [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

FAIRVIEW VIL­LAGE >> Perkiomen Val­ley’s half­time con­ver­sa­tion was in­ter­rupted by a rain­bow that set­tled be­hind the east goal at Methacton High School on Tues­day evening.

It was quite fit­ting, as the Vik­ings found their pot of gold dur­ing the sec­ond half.

Perk Val­ley scored three times in the sec­ond half — while Eas­ton had a pair of scores waved off — on the way to a 3-2 win dur­ing the open­ing round of the PIAA Class 3A play­offs.

“It felt like a sign,” said Katie Wuer­s­tle, Perk Val­ley’s ju­nior who wound up scor­ing the game-win­ning goal with less than two min­utes re­main­ing. “It was right over the goal we were scor­ing in so we came out in the sec­ond half with a lot of en­ergy.”

With the win, the Vik­ings (23-2 over­all) ad­vance to the sec­ond round of states for the first time since 1997. They’ll face Wil­son — an 8-0 win­ner over Peters Town­ship — in the quarterfinals on Satur­day at a site and time to be de­ter­mined. Eas­ton’s sea­son comes to a close at 20-4 over­all.

Perk Val­ley’s scout­ing re­port on Eas­ton was sim­ple — the Rovers play a phys­i­cal brand of hockey and will chal­lenge ev­ery loose ball. In the end, that proved help­ful to the Vik­ings as Eas­ton was handed four penalty cards on the day.

“They were killing us from be­hind,” said PV head coach Erik En­ters of Eas­ton. “There’s gonna be lots of welts on our girls’ legs to­mor­row. But in the same breath, we re­sponded, we didn’t back down. We showed we can be nasty too.”

Saige Shine was a force on the de­fen­sive end and in the mid­field as she played the en­tire game while Danielle Hamm set the tone and kept pace with Eas­ton’s top se­niors, An­nie Walsh and El­lie McIntyre all game long in the mid­field.

“Saige was a re­ally good de­fen­sive pres­ence right there on that right side,” said En­ters. “They couldn’t gen­er­ate any­thing down the left, which is what they pre­fer. So we re­ally kept them over to the right where they were much more un­com­fort­able. She did a great job out there for us.”

Eas­ton ju­nior Ri­ley McDon­ald, who scored both of her team’s goals, fin­ished the game’s open­ing goal 10 min­utes in af­ter she banked one in off the cross­bar as the Rovers took a 1-0 ad­van­tage into the half.

Then on Perk Val­ley’s open­ing pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half, Hamm cor­ralled a corner in­sert from Shine and buried it into the back of the cage to even it up at 1-1 just 66 sec­onds af­ter the break.

“We set a goal to come out and put two (scores) into the net dur­ing the sec­ond half,” said Shine. “So when we scored the first one that quick, it re­ally built up our en­ergy. It def­i­nitely showed us that we could do it, we just needed to push for it.”

McDon­ald struck again for Eas­ton four min­utes af­ter Hamm’s equal­izer, but the Vik­ings kept push­ing the en­ve­lope on the of­fen­sive end.

Se­nior Gabby Martina evened it up from the top of the cir­cle, send­ing a dart over the keeper’s right shoul­der and into the cage to tie it up at 2-2 with 17:19 re­main­ing.

A few min­utes later, Eas­ton scored what looked to be the go-ahead goal with 7:40 re­main­ing, but a shot by Walsh was deemed too high into the cage and waved off by the of­fi­cials.

Five min­utes later, Wuer­s­tle deked her way past a cou­ple of Eas­ton de­fend­ers and flicked an aerial into the back of the cage from the left side for the gamewin­ning goal.

“There were a lot of de­fend­ers there wait­ing once I had the ball on my stick,” re­called Wuer­s­tle. “I saw them go down to de­fend and I just lifted it over them. And it worked.”

Eas­ton put to­gether one fi­nal of­fen­sive push — the Rovers earn­ing a penalty try as time ex­pired.

Af­ter work­ing the ball me­thod­i­cally around the cir­cle, McIntyre wound up and sent one into the cage. But af­ter a brief dis­cus­sion by the of­fi­cials, the goal was again ruled too high, end­ing the game and send­ing the Perk Val­ley play­ers into cel­e­bra­tion.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited,” said Wuer­s­tle. “We know it’s been a long time since this team made a run at states, so we’re try­ing to make the most of it.”

The road won’t get any eas­ier from here, as the Vik­ings will face a Wil­son team that’s 20-3 and has only let up 16 goals all year.

“We know them re­ally well, they know us re­ally well,” said En­ters. “Hope­fully we can dig deep. They’ve got one of the best goal­keep­ers in the area (Bryn Un­der­wood) and they’re a re­ally, re­ally good team. It’ll be tough.”

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mem­bers of the Perkiomen Val­ley field hockey team cel­e­brate af­ter Tues­day’s 3-2 win over Eas­ton dur­ing the open­ing round of the PIAA Class AAA play­offs.

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