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Indians Hockey to Face Wildcats for PAC Championship
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent
2016-10-19

Upper Perk's Gabby Martin defends at the goal against a shot by Methacton on a corner in the first half of Monday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four game played at Upper Perk.

        Liz Pierson stood tall in goal, leading the Upper Perk field hockey team to a 2-0 semi-final win over Methacton in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four game at Indian Stadium Tuesday night.

        The victory vaulted the Tribe into Thursday's championship game against Owen J. Roberts at Upper Perk. It also served as a measure of revenge against a school that has had Upper Perk's number in many ways.

        The Warriors knocked Pierson and the lacrosse team out of last spring's Final Four and dealt the hockey team (17-2) its first loss of this season, 3-2 in overtime at Methacton.

        "Losing to them in overtime really angered us," said senior Kathryn Lehman, one of the Upper Perk goal scorers.

        "I was not losing this game to them," Pierson said. "I was really amped up."

        The rangy senior goalie, who is playing her first and only year of varsity hockey after a water polo career, made nine saves and seemed to be everywhere in net.

        The Tribe had the better of play early in the first half, but Methacton's speedy forwards began to ratchet up the offensive pressure, and Pierson's first save was a real test when Olivia Hoover came free. Pierson calmly played the angle and kicked the shot away.

        Hoover was back on the doorstep off a corner a few minutes later, and Pierson had to bat another ticketed shot aside.

        The game turned dramatically when the Tribe was awarded a corner with time running out in the first half.

        Lehman took the insertion from Liz Fox and coaxed the ball past Warrior goalie Addie Frey with zeroes on the clock.

        "The timing of it was perfect," said Upper Perk coach Jamie Warren. "That was a great boost to go into halftime."

        But the goal did not deflate Methacton who charged into the second half with renewed purpose. The Warriors forced three corners in the first seven minutes and Pierson had to be at her best to stop a laser by Emily Owens on one of them.

        "We knew they were going to come out flying, and they've got talented forwards," Warren said.

        Owens and Hoover had been the players who wreaked the most havoc in the regular season game.

        The pressure on Pierson and the Tribe's backs continued to mount, even after an Upper Perk timeout with 16 minutes left in the game. In a two-minute span after the stoppage, Methacton earned four corners, and Pierson had to make another close-in save on Hoover with 12:30 left in the game.

        "She was determined to win this game. She played like we needed a goalie to play. You have to have strong goalies in playoffs. She stood tall tonight, and the girls stood tall in front of her as well," said Warren.

        With just under eight minutes remaining, freshman AiYi Young gave the Tribe breathing room with a score off a corner out of a new alignment the team had just put in.

        "Michaela (Swenk) sweeped it on a corner, and, on the rebound, the goalie cleared it, and I stepped up and shot it in the corner," said Young.

        "I just didn't think for once, and I just played."

        The Tribe went into a defensive shell and rode out the last seven minutes despite two green cards to Fox that left the team shorthanded.

        The regular season loss to Methacton turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A few lessons from the loss were applied on Tuesday night.

        "We needed to play together; we needed to make complete passes, communicate, team defense. So, we needed to do everything right to win this game," Pierson said.


 

 

 

 

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