TopOfTheCircle.com

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Nov. 19, 2017 — Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) 2, Downingtown (Pa.) West 0

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Emma DeBerdine was already being seen as a superstar player last year when she and her sister Brooke (now at the University of Maryland) were making their way through the PIAA Class AAA bracket, only to fall short by a goal to Emmaus (Pa.).

Emma has worked extremely hard since Brooke went off to college, and today all of that hard work led to the Comets bringing home the PIAA Class AAA title with a 2-0 win over Downington (Pa.) West.

The younder DeBerdine sister had two assists, setting up Alyssa Schriver and Briana Harsh with cutting diagonals across the face of goal. But it was her skill and field generalship, in such a big game, which was truly outstanding.

“Katie (Bam) has been working with Brooke at Maryland,” said Emma DeBerdine. “I think I’ve been picking up on it a little bit just by watching.”

On one second-half corner, she took the ball from the top of the circle all the way to the right while her teammates cleared to the left. Absent a double-team, she jabbed and went in on goal while getting fouled to re-rack the corner.

The Downingtown West supporters were strangely silent. Could she do that every time? they seemed to be thinking.

Not to be outdone, Harsh was effective on the left wing, probing the strong side of the Downingtown West defense looking for seams.

“Each game, we determine which side we want to go to,” Harsh said. “We worked really hard.”

Downington West, playing its first field hockey final since the school district split in two in 2003, did not have the answers on the day, allowing Penn Manor, the No. 1 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, to complete a perfect season.

“This year, we’ve seemed to be able to gain momentum after having been tripped up the last couple of years,” said head coach Matt Soto. “This year’s group is a bunch of good teammates. Sure, we get competitive during practice, but when it’s over, they’re hugging each other.”

DOWNINGTOWN WEST (25-1) 0 0 — 0
PENN MANOR (28-0) 2 0 — 2
PM: Alyssa Schriver (Emma DeBerdine), pc, 4th minute
PM: Briana Harsh (DeBerdine), fg, 30th
Shots — DW: 0; PM: 4. Saves — DW: Caitlin Coker 2; PM: Britt Hook 0.


FULL TIME The whistle goes with Penn Manor winning 2-0

58:52 PM PC Comets content to possess the ball instead of going for a goal

58:45 PM PC DeBerdine shoved to the ground; will rerack

57:00 Penn Manor content to take it to the corner flag

56:32 Timeout, Penn Manor

56:32 DWHS YELLOW Celina Ricciardo off for the barge

55:15 DWPC Ends on a bad set

53:30 Gabby Bitts almost gets Penn Manor’s third but for a sprawling goalie save

46:59 DWHS PC Whistled for danger on the shot

45:14 Timeout, Downingtown West

44:00 PM PC DeBerdine flubs the pass and the Whippets clear

43:00 PM PC Another around-the-horn gets to the doorstep but is cleared

37:01 PM PC Ball goes around the horn to Harsh, but is cleared

36:29 PM PC DeBerdine receives and goes right, where her teammates clear. She makes a crossover move and the defender obstructs; will rerack

32:25 DW GREEN The Whippets play short for two minutes

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME The horn goes with Penn Manor leading 2-0

29:20 PM GOAL Briana Harsh, who has been a pest on the left wing, latches onto a DeBerdine cross and it’s 2-0 Penn Manor!

25:40 PM PC An option-left is sniffed out

23:00 PM PC Tackle by Celina Ricciardo

20:30 PM PC First shot is hip-high; the Comets need to convert these chances

18:30 PM PC A fancy three-way pass play does not lead to a goal shot

15:00 Starting to rain here in Whitehall

10:10 PM PC Hannah Brown’s cross pass cannot find a teammate

7:20 PM PC Hannah Brown defensed by Romea Ricciardo

6:59 PM PC DeBerdine feeds left and Schriver is tackled; rerack for the stick foul

3:50 PM PC and GOAL DeBerdine, on pretty much the same play, finds Alyssa Schriver for the putaway! Penn Manor leads 1-0

3:19 PM PC Emma DeBerdine receives and withdraws, trying to eliminate a player before pushing forward; the resulting cross is popped into the air; will rerack for danger

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Penn Manor is in the white tops and navy kilts; Downingtown is the blue tops with black kilts

PREGAME The teams are warming up under cloudy skies, temperatures around 45

PREGAME The teams are a study in contrast, and so are the coaches. Matt Soto has put three decades into coaching and is one of the few male coaches with more than 500 career victories. Elizabeth Bradley is from the coaching incubator that is West Chester University, which has given us everyone from Vonnie Gros to Maurene Polley

PREGAME Penn Manor has expected to be here from Day One of training camp. As good as Penn Manor has been, however, the Comets have been in the title games five times in the past 11 years, but only has one championship to show for it; Downington West has never been in the state title game since the Downingtown school district’s split into two high schools back in 2003. The unified school district won the field hockey state title in 1988

PREGAME Penn Manor is lead by forwards Gabby Bitts and Emma DeBerdine, who are two of four 20-goal scorers for the Comets; Downington West is led by Romea and Ciana Riccardo, who are headed to North Carolina

PREGAME Penn Manor, the District 3 champion, is 27-0; Downingtown West, the District 1 champion, is 25-0

PREGAME We are coming back to you from the Zephyr Complex at Allentown Whitehall (Pa.) for the PIAA Class AAA final between Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) and Downingtown (Pa.) West

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1 Comment»

  Pat Kline wrote @

Great read. Thank you. FYI…this is PM’s third title in ten years: 2008, 2014 and 2017.


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