Hard-working Warriors Shut Out Royals
EXETER — Wyoming Area forwards Kayla Kiwak, Toni Minichello and Lauren Parente put in work.
“I don’t think one of our forwards has ever missed practice,” Kiwak said, “so that really helps.”
Really, though, that commitment to excellence — in the offseason, at practice, at games — is evident across Wyoming Area’s entire field hockey roster.
“You’re seeing a small team (in numbers) that’s in fantastic shape and they’re consistently working hard, day in and day out,” said head coach Erin McGinley. “They worked hard on their skill and stuff like that in the offseason. We did a summer league in the summer. We did tournaments in the winter together. You’re seeing their team chemistry. That’s what you’re seeing right now.”
The Warriors’ hot start to this season continued Thursday with their best win yet, a 6-0 shutout of Holy Redeemer that featured three goals by Parente and one goal apiece by Kiwak, Minichello and Cassidy Orzel in Wyoming Valley Conference action.
Now 3-0 in league play, Wyoming Area is in familiar territory; the Warriors started 4-0 last season, but struggled down the stretch and finished 8-7.
“I think that’s what’s motivating us, knowing that we lost those tough games last year,” said midfielder Kari Melberger, who made all-state last season as a sophomore. “We have a brand new team, we have a lot of new starters, and I think we can really win every game.”
Holy Redeemer (1-1 WVC) made for an excellent test as the Royals are considered one of the top teams in District 2 Class A, along with Wyoming Area.
But the Royals struggled right out of the gate, unable to stop waves of Wyoming Area pressure that resulted in 39 shots on goal.
Despite allowing six goals, Redeemer goalkeeper Meredythe Baird had a strong performance with 26 saves.
But Baird couldn’t stop them all, as Parente shot in the first goal from the left post at 21:16 of the first half; Kiwak added a slap shot goal about five minutes later.
The Warriors’ relentless attack paid off again with 9:30 left in the first half, when Orzel — on the third straight shot on goal from a penalty corner — knocked in the score that made it 3-0.
Having already built a solid lead, Wyoming Area’s defense did its part, too, with Ellie Glatz securing a 14-save shutout. She benefitted from the defensive play in front of her, too, by Makenzie Switzer, Megan Beppler and Abby Gober.
“I think they can match up with any team because their fitness is very good right now,” McGinley said of her Warriors. “Their skill level is significantly better than last year; they have a drive like a team I haven’t seen; and they’re connected. You can see that. Their passing and their ball movement and everything they’re doing right now — you can see the difference.”
Next week should give the WVC an even clearer picture of just how good Wyoming Area is, as the Warriors are scheduled to play Wednesday at Crestwood. Even in Wyoming Area’s greatest seasons, it has struggled to beat the Comets.
FIRST HALF: Lauren Parente (WA) unassisted, 21:16; Kayla Kiwak (WA) unassisted, 16:10; Cassidy Orzel (WA) from Parente, 9:30; Toni Minichello (WA) unassisted, 3:34; Parente (WA) unassisted, 1:45. SECOND HALF: Parente (WA) from Orzel, 11:38.
Shots: WA 39, HR 16. Corners: WA 15, HR 5. Saves: WA (Ellie Glatz) 14, HR (Meredythe Baird) 25.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-821-2060; @CVBufano on Twitter