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Archive for September 30, 2017

Sept. 30, 2017 — Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 3, Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) 0

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. — By halftime of the Falcon Classic championship game against Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.), it was becoming increasingly evident that Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) was being beset by three different kinds of congestion.

The first was fixture congestion; the Indians are in the middle of a stretch when they are playing six games in six days, including the Saturday doubleheader. The second congestion was a mild cold running through the team. And the third was midfield congestion; specifically, the marking scheme that Lower Dauphin was using on Donegal junior Mackenzie Allessie, who was being shadowed and surrounded in an attempt to hamper her distribution of the ball.

But the second half was a completely different story, as Donegal dominated play and possession, running out 3-0 winners over a good Lower Dauphin side.

“We’ve built the success of our program on hard work and beating people to the ball,” said Donegal head coach Jessica Rose Shellenberger. “At the end of the day, you can forget the skill and forget the execution: we’re going to outwork you.”

Allessie, ever the heroine, had two goals and an assist in the game, topped off by her 50th goal of the season in the 50th minute of play. The sequence came out of a timeout when the Donegal players were looking to make a change in their tactics on corners. Allessie chimed in with a suggestion.

“I just want to hit the ball really hard,” she said.

Seconds after the timeout ended, the nation’s goals leader drew three players to her at the edge of the circle, then changed direction suddenly.  Her lifted shot struck the crossbar and the far upright; Donegal was denied again, and Allessie’s shoulders slumped a little bit.

The ball, however, cascaded back to her on the doorstep, whereupon she reflexively snared the rebound and finished in one motion as if playing a game of racquetball.

“I think she was disappointed at first because she took a great shot and it didn’t go in; that her mentality,” Shellenberger said. “But she said, ‘I’m not going to be denied here,’ and went hard to the rebound.”

Throughout the match, Donegal showed an array of skills and tactics few scholastic teams possess. Allessie set an early tone by sending teammate Lily Saunders on a breakaway with a sumptuous 60-yard pass that almost led to the opener.

While the Indians were credited with two second-half goals, they were incredibly unlucky not to have scored more. They hit the post on one occasion, put a corner shot into the goal but from outside the circle, and forced some desperate defending from the Falcons as well as several good saves from second-half goalkeeper Brandelynn Heinebaugh.

“They started doing smaller passes, and they are so dangerous from the 25 on in,” Lower Dauphin head coach Linda Kreiser said. “They are very skilled; you have to give them credit.”

At the same time, Lower Dauphin had its chances in the final 10 minutes of the first half. A series of corners had the Falcons hammering repeatedly at the Donegal defense, but came up empty.

“We only have three people back from last year’s team, and a lot of our graduates are playing in college,” Kreiser said. “But I’m proud of our little team.”

Donegal goalkeeper Katie Jean and her backline of Cayla Homsher, Ashley Maxwell, and Allaura Bohan were extremely strong, keeping a clean sheet in such an enormous game.

“Those kids are great with that mentality,” Shellenberger said. “They are going to get in there and deny the other team the ball, and that’s great for us.”

DONEGAL (14-0) 1 2 —3
LOWER DAUPHIN (10-3) 0 0 —0
D: Mackenzie Allessie, pc, 6th minute
D: Grace Miller (Allessie), pc, 36th
D: Allessie, fg, 50th
Shots — D: 15; LD: 9. Saves — D: Katie Jean 7, defensive 2; LD: Avian Thompson 6, Brandelynn Heinebaugh 4, defensive 2


POSTGAME Thanks for tuning in; good night and good hockey

POSTGAME Donegal came out in the second half and dominated the chances. The team could have easily had five in the half but for a great save, an umpire’s decision, and the post

POSTGAME Full marks to Donegal for taking everything that Lower Dauphin threw at them the first half, then tightening up the skills for the second

FULL TIME At the final siren, Donegal wins the game 3-0. Allessie was dominant and absolutely brilliant throughout the contest

59:00 Final minute of regulation and Donegal on the brink of victory

57:25 Amanda Beck hits the post with a spectacular backhander!

56:24 DHS YELLOW Lily Saunders is off for five

49:16 DHS GOAL Allessie takes the ball on the restart and makes a backhand lift that hits the post and the crossbar; she grabs the rebound and sticks it in for her 50th of the season! Donegal leads 3-0 and is assuming control of this game

49:06 TIMEOUT, LDHS

48:08 LDHS GREEN Lauren Hunter in the sin-bin for two minutes

47:00 DHS PC Allessie with a dribbler that goes in, but the umpires rule that the shot is from outside the circle

45:00 An intricate three-way pass play by Donegal is repelled by Heinebaugh!

43:49 LDHS PC Shot saved by Jean; rebound sent wide

40:15 Courtney Kindall gets the back in space and beats Jean with the shot, but the ball hits the outside of the cage

39:00 Sienna Pegram generates a cross and there is nobody to tip it in for Lower Dauphin

37:15 DHS PC Defensed by Emma O’Neill

36:00 LDHS PC Domovich with the shot; Jean says no

34:50 DHS PC and GOAL Allessie takes it on the right wing, feathers it to an open Grace Miller, who makes no mistake; Donegal leads 2-0

32:45 Allessie frees her stick for a shot that Heinebaugh saves!

31:15 Lily Saunders with an open chance in the left wing; saved by goalie Brandelynn Heinebaugh, who is in the game for this half

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME If the Indians can spring more teammates up top for shot chances, they could go on a run

HALFTIME Donegal has looked tremendous in the midfield even as Allessie has been marked by as many as four players

HALFTIME It has been pretty even thus far, though Lower Dauphin has been much more industrious in the attack end

HALFTIME The siren goes with Donegal leading 1-0

29:05 DHS GREEN Grace Miller is off for the push

27:00 LDHS Cleared by Allessie! The Indians have an iron will on defense

26:19 LDHS Shot is tackled away

25:39 LDHS Two saves by Jean as well as a defensive save!

24:25 Maddie Gaughan’s shot goes high, wide, and handsome

20:15 LDHS PC Audrey Domivich’s shot gets a teammate’s foot

16:39 Allessie, on a free-in, spins past four LD defenders and aims a shot

14:25 TIMEOUT, DHS

11:15 DHS PC Backhand by Allessie is gobbled up by Thompson

8:00 LDHS Option-left is tackled by Ashley Maxwell

7:15 LDHS PC Katie Jean with the save

7:15 TIMEOUT, LDHS

5:30 That is her 49th of the season, 185th of her career

5:21 DHS PC and GOAL Allessie sweeps it in off an option left! Donegal leads 1-0

4:15 Allessie is surrounded by four Falcons and suddenly springs Lily Saunders for a breakaway; can they do that every time?

2:45 DHS PC Mackenzie Allessie with a 1-up that Avian Thompson saves

2:15 DHS PC Tackle by Karina Long; will rerack

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Donegal is wearing black tops and socks with green kilts; Lower Dauphin is in the white with blue numbers and trim

PREGAME The teams are warming up under partly-cloudy skies, temperature around 61 degrees

PREGAME As is usual in games like this, it is likely to hinge on the play of an unexpected source. Last year, it was substitute Grace Miller who scored the winner

PREGAME Donegal is led by junior Mackenzie Allessie, who currently leads the nation in goals. Lower Dauphin will have a defense led by goalie Avian Thompson and fullback Karina Long

PREGAME Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.), the No. 1 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, is 13-0 on the season; Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) is 10-2

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Kreisler-Hallman Field at Lower Dauphin Middle School for the championship final of the Falcon Classic