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UP Field Hockey Advances to PAC Title Game
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2019-10-16

           Ashlyn Gatto's opportunity goal and the stellar goaltending of Lynnsi Joyce highlighted Upper Perk field hockey's 1-0 win over Perkiomen Valley on Tuesday night in the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinal playoffs.

Upper Perkiomen's Ashlyn Gatto looks to dribble past
a defender during Tuesday night's PAC playoff game
against Perkiomen Valley.

            The victory vaulted the Tribe (10-0 in the Frontier Division) into Thursday night's championship game against Owen J. Roberts, a 7-0 winner over Phoenixville in the other semifinal. Both games were played at Upper Perk.

            AiYi Young set up Gatto's tally with 11:32 left in the first half after Upper Perk's aggressive play in Perk Valley's circle led to a series of corners.  Young took one of those corner inserts from Kylene Gooch and launched a hard shot toward the goal.

             "She drove it and I tipped it in," Gatto described her score after the game.

            The Vikings (8-2 in the Liberty Division) controlled the first ten minutes of the game and Bella Carpenter was forced to make a stellar defensive save on a Kaci Shelton scoring attempt after the ball got behind Joyce.

            But after that Upper Perk flipped the field and dominated play for long stretches of the first half.

            "I just think we were able to play our passing game in the first half," coach Jamie Warren said.

            Perk Valley did have a couple of quality scoring chances, however, especially when Carpenter was sent off with a green card. Joyce went to her knees to stop one shot and later charged out of the net for back-to-back saves with four minutes left in the half.

          "I'm usually pretty aggressive when I'm in goal, that's just how I like to play," Joyce explained.

            The second half, however, had a hint of deja vu to it.

            "Our first game against PV ( a 3-2 loss) was the same thing," Warren noted. "We were much more effective offensively in the first half, and then the beginning of the second half they got us on our heels."

            The Upper Perk defense, however, mostly kept the Vikings out of the circle until a torrent of PV corners began with about seven minutes left in the game, and Perk Valley ratcheted up some desperate pressure.

           "I thought all of our defenders did well. I think Luci (Carpenter) did a good job stepping up in the middle. Bella (Carpenter) contained on her left side. I think our whole defensive unit kept us in the game, starting with Lynnsi," Warren said.

            Joyce's best save of the night came with just over a minute left when Kelly Baitinger lofted a floater toward the cage.

            "That very last save," Joyce said, "she lifted it pretty high, so that was a nice little jump save there."

             "She had an awesome save down there," Warren noted. "She used her quickness that she has."

            "We knew they were just going to come down and be really aggressive, so we just had to combat that as much as we could," Joyce explained.

            Officially, Joyce was credited with seven saves.

            "It feels good to be in the finals," Warren said. "That's where we wanted to be, and it feels good to get a win over a strong team."

            Beyond the championship game with Owen J. Roberts, the Tribe is looking forward to the District I playoffs. Upper Perk will probably be a fourth or fifth seed, with the fourth seed getting the home field. Seedings will be officially announced on Friday.


 

 

 

 

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