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PA out-‘manned’ by Elk Lake

Lady Warriors featured seven boys in lineup against Lady Patriots

Above, Pittston Area’s Madeline Dworak takes a shot against Elk Lake on Tuesday afternoon at the Bucky Harris Athletic Complex in Hughestown. Below left, Gabby Vaxmonsky (4) runs with an Elk Lake player toward a loose ball. Below right Samantha Moska brings the ball up field.

photos by BILL TARUTIS

Wyoming Area’s Brianna Murray gets around a Seminary defender.

photos by tony callaio

Wyoming Area’s Serra Degnan gets the ball past the Wyoming Seminary goalie before scoring a goal against the Blue Knights on Monday afternoon at the Atlas Sports Complex in West Pittston.

Last season, Pittston Area defeated Elk Lake 3-0 in the last game of the season to jump into the final playoff spot by clinching the third-seed in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3. This season, the Lady Patriots faced off against Elk Lake again but this time they were already sitting in the No. 3 spot in WVC Division 3 trailing the Warriors by 1 1/2 games for the second position.

The two teams took the field for a doubleheader on Pittston Area’s Senior Day on Tuesday at the Bucky Harris Sports Complex in Hughestown.

Elk Lake, which touted seven boys in their starting line-up, was able to come away with two hard-fought victories, 4-2 and 2-1, to sure up the No. 2 spot in WVC Division 3, and set Pittston Area up to be the third-seed out of WVC-3.

"Not much (of a disadvantage) really," said PA Head Coach Caitlin Hadzimichalis about the playing against boys. "Yes, some of their hits are a little hard and they might be able to sprint faster genetically, but I don’t think it was that much of a disadvantage, we had our own mistakes that compounded it."

In game one, Elk Lake got on the board first at the 23:47 mark but the Lady Patriots answered with one of their own two minutes later, when Emily Herron put the ball into the back of the cage off a Liz Mikitish assist.

The rest of the first half went back-and-forth as it ended tied at 1-1.

The second half started just how the first ended – a lot of opportunities for the offense but solid defensive plays won out.

That was the case until Elk Lake broke the tie again with a goal at the 16:23 mark. However, true to normal Lady Patriot fashion, they fought back, tying the game at twos when Mikitish threw a hard long pass into a scrum in front of the cage. The ball found its way to the stick of Becca Weinstock who knocked in with just over 11 minutes left in the game.

The two teams fought for the next nine minutes before Elk Lake knocked the ball into the cage after PA couldn’t clear it out of the circle, breaking the tie and giving Elk Lake a 3-2 lead with 2:01 left in the game.

The Warriors iced the first game when they scored again with eight seconds left clinching a 4-2 victory and pushing their lead over Pittston Area to two games.

Elk Lake outshot the Lady Patriots 10-6 but they came up even in corners with nine each.

Ariel Ardo recorded seven saves in the cage for the Lady Patriots.

In the second game, Elk Lake got off to a quick start, again getting on the board first when they found the back of the net at the 27:22 mark.

PA seemed out-matched by the size and speed of the Elk Lake team as they struggled to maintain any sort of substantial attack, forcing their defense and goalie to come up with big defensive plays to keep them in the game.

Elk Lake had an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead when they were awarded a penalty stroke, but Lea Garibaldi came up with a big save as she kicked the ball away to keep the Lady Patriots within striking distance.

PA nearly evened the match at the 18-minute mark when the ball squirted across the face of the cage, but no one was on the other end to knock it in.

Three minutes later, the Lady Warriors nearly tied it up for the second time when the ball was played into the middle of the circle and then off of a PA stick past the GK, but it rolled wide of the cage and Elk Lake held on to their 1-0 lead.

However, that margin didn’t stay for long as EL scored their second goal with 14:27 left in the first pushing the lead to 2-0, a score which held up until the end of the half.

Sensing that their backs were against the wall, the Lady Patriots came out with extreme intensity in the second half. They got on the board, cutting the lead to 2-1, when Liz Mikitish fired a shot past the GK and into the cage 5:30 into the half.

Pittston Area controlled most of the second half, keeping high pressure on the Elk Lake defense and forcing them to make plays to hold onto the lead.

With 16:06 left, Becca Weinstock dribbled down the sideline before badly faking out two defenders with two straight cutbacks. Then, she drove the ball hard across the front of the cage, but no one was able to deflect it in.

PA kept applying pressure and continued to keep the ball in Elk Lake’s end of the field, but they could not find the back of the cage and Elk Lake was able to hold on for the 2-1 victory.

"(The seniors - Ariel Ardo, Brittany Czerniakowski, Madeline Dworak, Brielle Warren, Gabby Vaxmonsky and Mallory Yozwiak) are a great group of kids and they are good core leadership for everybody coming up," said Hadzimichalis. "They’ve been setting a good example for the underclassmen of how to act when they are seniors and what to do when they are in tough situations, so I’m very proud of them."

Elk Lake outshot the Lady Patriots 16-12 but PA held the advantage in corners 10-3.

Garbaldi had seven saves in the first half for the Lady Patriots and Ardo had four in the second half.

PA dropped to 7-5-1 after the two losses but still hold on to third place in Division 3 ahead of GAR who is 7-6.

PA 2, Northwest 0

Gabby Vaxmonsky scored two first-half goals as Pittston Area defeated previously unbeaten Northwest, 2-0, in a WVC Division 3 showdown on Thursday afternoon in Shickshinny.

Vaxmonsky got the Lady Patriots on the board in the 18th minute with an unassisted goal before scoring on an assist from Rebecca Weinstock later in the half to give the Pittston Area defense margin for error.

But the defense did not need the extra goal in holding the division-leading Rangers to just five shots on the day.

Lea Garibaldi and Ariel Ardo combined to stop all five shots in net for the Lady Patriots.

PA 6, Berwick 1

Pittston Area exploded for three first-half goals and added three more in the second half on its way to a 6-1 victory over Berwick in a WVC Division 3 Field Hockey match on Monday afternoon in Columbia County.

Gabby Vaxmonsky, Liz Mikitish and Katrina Mikitish each scored a goal in the first half as the Lady Patriots took a 3-0 lead at halftime. Rebecca Weinstock and Dana Maurizi assisted on the first and third goals of the half with Liz Mikitish scoring unassisted.

Vaxmonsky then assisted on a Brielle Warren goal to open the second half as PA went ahead 4-0. Berwick answered with its only goal of the game, but Liz Mikitish and Weinstock finished the Lady Dawgs off with goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Lea Garibaldi and Ariel Ardo split time in net for the Lady Patriots and did not face a shot.

PA 5, Montrose 0

Dana Maurizi and Gabby Vaxmonsky scored two goals each as Pittston Area shut out Montrose, 5-0, in a WVC Division 3 Field Hockey match on Saturday afternoon at the Bucky Harris Athletic Complex in Hughestown.

Meredith Yozwiak put the Lady Patriots on the board by finding the back of the net on an assist from Alexa Danko at the 7:59 mark of the first half.

Vaxmonsky then sandwiched her two goals around a Maurizi goal to give PA a 4-0 lead at halftime. Marina Barnak, Rebecca Weinstock and Liz Mikitish assisted on the three goals.

Maurizi then scored her second goal at the 11:09 mark of the second half on an assist from Brielle Warren.

Pittston Area did not alone Montrose to have a shot on goal or a corner in the match. The Lady Patriots out shot the Lady Meteors, 18-0, and out-cornered them, 24-0.

WA 3, Hazleton 4 (OT)

Wyoming Area rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a second-half lead, but the Lady Warriors could not contain the Garzio sisters as Hazleton won a 4-3 overtime decision in a WVC Division 2 Field Hockey match on Wednesday afternoon in Hazle Twp.

Selena Garzio scored on back-to-back assists from her sister Kayla to give the Lady Cougars a 2-0 lead with 12:05 remaining in the first half of play.

Wyoming Area answered with a goal from Alexis Coolbaugh on an assist from Serra Degnan at the 11:06 mark, and tied the score on a Jenna Skrinak unassisted goal with under five minutes left before intermission.

Skrinak then scored again to open the second half, giving the Lady Warriors a 3-2 lead with 17:44 left to play.

But Kayla Garzio scored with only 2:04 left in regulation to tie the score at 3-3 and send the match to overtime where Selena Garzio scored to give the Lady Cougars the victory.

Nicole Cumbo stopped eight shots in goal for WA.

WA 2, Lackawanna Trail 1

Wyoming Area broke a three-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over Lackawanna Trail in a WVC Crossover match on Tuesday afternoon at the Atlas Sports Complex in West Pittston.

Trailing 1-0, Brianna Murray tied the score with an unassisted goal for the Lady Warriors at the 6:06 mark of the first half.

Serra Degnan game WA the lead, 2-1, on an assist from Sally DeLuca at the 8:51 mark of the second half.

Emily Wolfgang and Nicole Cumbo combined for three saves in net as the Lady Warriors outshot the Lady Lions, 26-5.

WA 3, Seminary 4

Wyoming Area battled shot for shot with WVC Division 1 power Wyoming Seminary on Monday afternoon in West Pittston, but in the end the Blue Knights had too much fire power as the Lady Warriors dropped a 4-3 decision at the Atlas Sports Complex.

Trailing 1-0 in the first half, Brianna Murray tied the score for the Lady Warriors with a one-timer at the 27:01 mark of the first half.

Wyoming Area took the lead, 2-1, to open the second half when Serra Degnan scored on an assist from Sam Shiner at the 26:30 mark. Seminary answered withy two straight goals to take a 3-2 lead, but Degnan knotted the score at 3-3 with an unassisted goal with 8:10 remaining in the game.

The Lady Blue Knights would get the win however when AshLeigh Sebia scored her third goal of the game just 16 seconds later to give Seminary the 4-3 lead.

WA 3, Lehman 4

Wyoming Area rallied in the second half but still fell short in a 4-3 loss to Lake-Lehman last Friday in a WVC Field Hockey Crossover in the Back Mountain.

The Lady Warriors took an early lead when Serra Degnan scored unassisted at the 26:25 mark of the first half. Lehman answered with three straight goals before Jenna Skrinak scored to get the Lady Warriors within 3-2 at intermission.

Sam Shiner then scored on a Degnan assist to open the second half and tie the game at 3-3 at the 25:52 mark. But the Black Knights scored with just over 10 minutes remaining to take the victory 4-3.

Emily Wolfgang stopped six shots in goal for the Lady Warriors.

Playoff picture

As of Thursday, Pittston Area and Wyoming Area were set to face each other in the opening round of the District 2 Class 2A Tournament. That game will take place Monday or Tuesday at Wyoming Area

The winner of the Cross River Rivalry would play later in the week at Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 champion Crestwood (15-0). The Comets are also the defending district champion.

An upset of monumental proportions by either the Lady Patriots or Lady Warriors would put them into next week’s semifinal against the winner of Lake-Lehman (8-6-1) and Holy Redeemer (12-3).

Points

1. Gabby Vaxmonsky, PA…30

2. Serra Degnan, WA…26

3t. Rebecca Weinstock, PA…17

3t. Jenna Skrinak, WA…17

5t. Liz Mikitish, PA…12

5t. Sam Shiner, WA…12

Goals

1. Gabby Vaxmonsky, PA…12

2. Serra Degnan, WA…11

3. Jenna Skrinak, WA…8

4t. Rebecca Weinstock, PA…5

4t. Liz Mikitish, PA…5

6. Sam Shiner, WA…4

Assists

1. Rebecca Weinstock, PA…7

2. Gabby Vaxmonsky, PA…6

3t. Ally Adonizio, WA…4

3t. Serra Degnan, WA…4

3t. Sam Shiner, WA…4

6t. Madeline Dworak, PA…3

Saves

1. Ariel Ardo, PA…50

2. Emily Wolfgang, WA…36

3. Nicole Cumbo, WA…30

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