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Girls win District 11 2A field hockey title

From the start of camp back in August, head coach Gabi Smith knew this season would be a work in progress for the field hockey team.

After all, the squad lost a bunch of seniors from last year’s group.

Smith mentioned from the very start of the season about working on flow and support.

“Throughout this season we have been working on creating a flow of play and supporting throughout our lines,” Smith said. “These are still two goals we are actively working on as we continue our play. After losing many seniors last season, we knew that it would take time to build our team as a unit, and at this point in the season, I am very proud of the progress we have made in doing so.”

Last week, it all paid off for the Zephs as they were crowned District 11 2A champs.

The girls were the second seed in the tournament and knocked off three-seed Bangor 2-0 to open play. It set up a showdown with top-seed Southern Lehigh, which cruised to a 7-1 win over East Stroudsburg South. In the finals, the girls pulled out a 1-0 win in overtime. Kerigan Dreisbach scored the game-winner in the waning moments.

“Throughout the game, the team had to work hard to withstand Southern Lehigh’s big hits and quick offense,” Smith said. “It was evident that both teams wanted to win, and it made for an exciting field hockey game. Dreisbach was able to score the game-winning goal in the last seconds of overtime on a reverse shot. It was the perfect shot, taken at the perfect moment. It certainly made us realize the importance of every second.”

As they got ready to enter the state tournament, Smith couldn’t be more proud of her team and what they accomplished this season.

“I am extremely proud of these young ladies,” Smith said. “Winning districts is a wonderful accomplishment and right now we are enjoying this moment while preparing for what is next.

“Over the next few practices, we will continue to work out our weaknesses and remind ourselves of our strengths. Each day, win or lose, we are proud to be Zephyrs.”

As for their season, the Zephs got plenty of support and leadership from their seniors and captains.

Smith pointed to senior Aubrey Steiner and mentioned the amazing job she did leading the squad along with the support of Lydia Keppel, Olivia Fonzone and Matisyn Derkacs, who are all captains.

“Making major impacts on the field for us, Aubrey utilizes her strong block tackles and hits. Lydia’s constant hustle both on the offensive push and defensive recovery has proved essential,” Smith said. “Olivia’s composed, low, and ready stick has been a huge resource in our offensive end and for defensive clears.”

Goalkeeper Lily Trocki had phenomenal saves throughout the season, according to Smith.

“Her quick footwork has certainly worked to our advantage,” Smith said.

Smith went on to say Josie Schultz made huge step-ups for the team in the backfield and demonstrated strong stick skills and field vision. Dreisbach was the leading goal scorer this season, thanks to her fast stick work and navigation of the field.

“These skills and the teamwork in general helped us to make it to the 2A finals, and also find success in the final itself,” Smith said.

Contributed photo The Whitehall field hockey team won the District 11 2A title with a 1-0 win over Southern Lehigh.