Wyoming area field hockey scores in time to advance to state championship

WHITEHALL — The Wyoming area players looked to the sideline and coach Bree Bednarski to confirm what they already instinctively knew.

The PIAA field hockey semifinal and a berth in Saturday’s Class A state championship game was poised to rest on the able stick of Michigan State senior captain and rookie Bianca Pizano. .

Pizano’s successful penalty kick with no time on the clock Wednesday lifted the Wyoming area over Oley Valley 3-2 and into Saturday’s 11 a.m. championship game against undefeated District 3 champion Boiling Springs at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.

The penalty shot was Pizano’s second of the game and the third of the last two rounds of the state tournament. The result of an infringement on the Oley Valley keeper on a penalty corner that was already played after time expired, Pizano’s game-winning shot earned him 4 for 5 on the season on kick attempts penalty.

“They’re still watching and I’m still yelling at them,” Bednarski said. “But we have a lot of confidence and belief in Bianca.”

The fact that Pizano even had the chance to win the game this way was the result of clutch plays from defender Alyvia Yatsko and season leading scorer Lyla Rehill from 14 seconds left in regulation time. .

The teams were tied 2-2 with 9:43 remaining in the first half and the Wyoming region held a clear advantage in possession from the four minutes remaining in the third quarter until the final three minutes of the game.

In those three minutes, however, Oley Valley, who never managed a penalty shot or corner in the final 19:16, applied pressure, keeping the ball inside the 25-line. meters most of the time.

When the Wyoming region offered a save for a 16-yard free kick on its own defensive end with a clock near 15 seconds, a sigh of relief and a cautious approach to getting to overtime might have been understandable.

None of the warriors, however, thought that way.

“I just wanted to finish the game here,” said Yatsko, a junior defender. “…I want to complete this game during the actual game; I didn’t want it to go into overtime.

“I saw a perfect gap with Lyla so I shot as hard as I could. She just worked her magic, got a corner and we luckily had a stroke which was amazing that Bianca finished it with a perfect shot.

Yatsko ripped a hard drive from the middle to Rehill on the left side.

From there, the second got to work.

“I was hoping that we could still bring it back there, get a corner out of it and shake things up,” Bednarski said. “I was so happy for this to happen.”

Rehill dribbled down the sideline for nearly 60 yards, diving into the circle where she fouled with a second left. Defensive offenses in the circle result in penalty corners, which by rule must be played to completion when time runs out.

“I looked at the clock and saw Lyla dribbling,” Pizano said. “There were about eight seconds left and I knew that gave him enough time to get that corner to enter it.”

As six Oley Valley defenders retreated to midfield, the Wyoming region lined up for content from the penalty corner that could only result in a win or overtime. They couldn’t lose as they attacked aggressively on the ensuing play.

Pizano fired a shot on goal and when Wyoming Area Ella McKernan, Juliana Gonzales and Rehill worked feverishly to release the rebound near the right post, goalie Cenora Grim was called out for laying on the ball, covering it. illegally opponents.

The referee signaled the hit. Pizano received confirmation from the bench and was standing near the strike line long before the Oley Valley captains lost their plea to the officials.

When they widened, Pizano waited for the whistle and fired a shot inside the post on the left side, just above the height of the goalkeeper’s shoulders, ending the match.

The shot lifted Wyoming Area past the team that had completed its previous two deepest playoff trips with 2-0 shutouts in the 2019 and 2021 state semifinals.

Prior to the winning streak, Wyoming Area had trailed twice in the first half.

Pizano opened the scoring with a penalty stroke and Alexys Moore created a 2-1 lead with a right wing shot from a penalty corner.

The second penalty kick of the night secured first place for a championship game in program history.

“Finally,” Pizano said. “It’s crazy. We’ve never done it before. It’s been our goal from the start.

“Finally we can go to the final. Now we just have to go there and get the job done.


Wyoming Zone 3, Oley Valley 2

Oley Valley`1`1`0`0 — 2

Wyoming region`2`0`0`1 — 3

First — 1. WA, Bianca Pizano (penalty stroke) 11:47; 2. VO, Lauren Habakus 5:29; 3. WA, Alexys Moore (Nina Angeli), 3:04. Second – 4. Taylor Vaccaro (Morgan Snyder) 9:43. Fourth – 5. Pizano (penalty stroke).

Shoot to the net — VO 6, WA 9. The guardian saves — VO 5 (Cenora Grim), WA 2 (Rylee Muniz). Penalty corners — VO 2, WA 8.

Catherine J. Martinez