Sem Avenges Loss In Last Year’s State Title Game
SOUTH CENTRE TWP. — The memory of last year’s state championship game was fresh in everyone’s minds.
It altered Wyoming Seminary’s game plan and mindset Tuesday night at Central Columbia High School.
It also served as inspiration, reminding the supremely talented Blue Knights they were not invincible.
Wyoming Seminary, a team that’s seemingly been everywhere and done everything, finally got its rematch with Greenwood and reversed its fortunes.
Anna Mozeleski, Julia Christian, Alex Wesneski and Hannah Maxwell each scored a goal and helped Wyoming Seminary overwhelm Greenwood, 4-0, in the PIAA Class A field hockey semifinals.
“It’s not the state championship; we’re going there on Saturday,” Mozeleski said. “But this was the next best thing.”
District 2 champion Wyoming Seminary (20-2-1) will play for the program’s seventh state title 10 a.m. Saturday at Whitehall High School. It will play District 3 three-seed Newport, which defeated Oley Valley, 3-1, in the semifinals.
Last year, Mozeleski was in eighth grade and a mere observer when Sem lost the state final to Greenwood, 2-1.
This year, the freshman played a pivotal role in the Blue Knights’ triumph.
“Seeing how much we’ve improved in coming back and playing Greenwood again, I couldn’t be happier — for this team, for everyone, for the coaches,” Mozeleski said. “It’s not a miracle. We worked for it. We worked our butts off all through the preseason, all through the entire season up to this moment. We just capitalized where we should have capitalized.”
Having played a pretty evenly matched first half, Sem and Greenwood remained tied 0-0 until just over two minutes were left in the half.
That’s when Sem moved the ball deep into Greenwood territory, where several Blue Knights got their sticks on the ball inside the circle.
Eventually, the ball settled around the left hash marks a few yards from the goal; Mozeleski approached and swung a hard shot directly into the cage for a 1-0 lead.
“We were able to breathe — ‘OK, we got this,’” said Sem goalkeeper Mia Magnotta.
The 1-0 lead didn’t feel entirely safe, though, because Greenwood had one of the nation’s top scorers in senior All-American Paityn Wirth.
But thanks to the defensive efforts of Magnotta, who made six saves, and the defenders and midfielders in front of her — including Kate Barilla, Kelsey Reznick, Elisabeth Seyfarth, Bari Lefkowitz, Aubrey Mytych, Grace Parsons and Mozeleski — Wirth and the Wildcats were never able to break through on offense.
“Basically, we learned a lesson from last year because we tried to stop her last year,” Sem head coach Karen Klassner said of Wirth. “This year, we didn’t do anything special. We kept everything status-quo because it’s gotten us this far.”
While the defense secured its third consecutive shutout in the state tournament, Sem’s offense kept its foot on the gas in the second half.
“We ended up scoring three more goals after that,” Mozeleski said, “and we just kept the momentum going and never stopped.”
Just 2:13 into the second half, Wesneski sent a crossing pass to Christian, who got a touch on the ball and redirected it in for a goal.
A few minutes later while protecting the 2-0 lead, Magnotta came through with her play of the game — a diving pad save in which she came out of net to keep Greenwood scoreless.
“I think we definitely had a different attitude going into this game,” said Magnotta, a sophomore who started in last year’s loss to Greenwood. “We wanted to focus on the team aspect and just keep our heads on straight. I think we definitely succeeded at that.”
Wesneski’s second effort led to a goal on a rebound at the 9:53 mark, which was followed by the Blue Knights’ fourth and final goal by Maxwell.
The loss dropped District 3 champion Greenwood to 21-2. It was the Wildcats’ first loss since Sept. 15.
“We did have nerves,” Klassner admitted. “The pressure was on us, really, because they’re the defending state champions and the only way we were going to advance was to beat them. So, we knew they were standing in our way. They’re a great program.”
Now, all that’s left is one more game against Newport (18-6-1), which lost four games this season against Greenwood.
The Blue Knights hope their veteran lineup comes through, while they’re thrilled to also welcome contributions from new starters like Mozeleski.
“Anna is a very strong player,” Magnotta said. “We love having her on the field. As a freshman, she is definitely stepping up and doing her part. We love Anna and we love having her on the team.”
FIRST HALF: Anna Mozeleski (Sem) from Hannah Maxwell, 2:23. SECOND HALF: Julia Christian (Sem) from Alex Wesneski, 27:47; Wesneski (Sem) unassisted, 9:53; Maxwell (Sem) from Wesneski, 3:28.
Shots: Sem 9, Gre 6. Corners: Sem 4, Gre 6. Saves: Sem (Mia Magnotta) 6, Gre (Kelsey Sheaffer) 5.
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