Pine-Richland field hockey team learns from setbacks
The last time the Pine-Richland field hockey team had taken the field against a WPIAL opponent and didn’t come away with a victory was the 2016 WPIAL Class AAA championship game, which resulted in a 3-1 Rams loss.
On Sept. 26, that streak came to an end when the Rams battled Mt. Lebanon to a 1-1 tie. The defending WPIAL Class AAA champs hold a 3-0-1 record in Division I, but the tie against the Blue Devils was a new feeling for plenty of players on the Pine-Richland roster.
Coach Donna Stephenson and her team are undeterred, however. She said she and her team have been welcoming challenges all season.
“It was a really good game. Both teams played well, and it was very competitive. But I think it’s motivation for them to do better,” Stephenson said.
“We can carry some things into other division games now. We can take away the importance of position, getting in the right places and passing more. We did a lot of things well in that game, but we can continue to build from those things.”
Another way Stephenson and her team challenged themselves was heading to Hershey for the Falcon Invitational on Sept. 29 to face top competition from different regions in Pennsylvania.
In Hershey, the Rams lost to Lower Dauphin, 7-0, and then to East Pennsboro, 3-0.
According to Stephenson, coming away from the tournament with a spotless win-loss record wasn’t the goal. Her team isn’t afraid of losing. The goal was to learn and adapt to different playing styles.
“We didn’t go to Hershey expecting to win every game and run away with it. That wouldn’t have been worth the trip. This is a program thing. This is to get our team to the next level,” she said.
“Even though the scores were a little lopsided, our girls did a great job. We got to play a lot of different girls in different positions. We got some experience playing against teams that we wouldn’t usually play until the state playoffs. We got to experience the way that those games are refereed, and it’s different, so it’s a valuable thing to get adjusted to.”