Christian’s Goal Starts Sem’s Second-half Flurry
WRIGHT TWP. — Julia Christian could score with the best of them.
It just so happens, she plays on a forward line with Wake Forest commit Hannah Maxwell and Iowa commit Alex Wesneski, two of the nation’s top recruits.
“I love it. I just love playing with them,” said Christian, a junior and two-year starter for Wyoming Seminary. “We’re so blessed to play with each other because we have such amazing talent on this team. I love playing up there and being able to get the balls that my team sends me.”
On Tuesday, it was Bari Lefkowitz who assisted Christian’s goal, which broke a scoreless tie and helped Sem pull away for a 3-0 win against Bermudian Springs in the first round of the PIAA Class A field hockey playoffs.
While she’s often been overshadowed by Maxwell, Wesneski and Aubrey Mytych — each of whom have scored more goals — Tuesday’s spotlight belonged to Christian.
That’s because Christian’s goal, scored with 20:58 to play, finally put the Blue Knights (18-2-1) ahead in a game in which they were heavily favored.
“At first, we were getting really frustrated,” Christian said. “But at halftime and every time the other team called time out, we just said that we needed to collect ourselves and take a deep breath and play our game. That’s what we did. We finally found the open passes and the open spaces.”
But, it did take a while.
Bermudian Springs presented an interesting challenge, as Sem head coach Karen Klassner said her team was unfamiliar with any of the Eagles’ players — an oddity this deep into the postseason.
A week ago, Bermudian Springs was still undefeated at 21-0-1 before losing back-to-back games at districts and then a third consecutive loss Tuesday against Sem.
“They really controlled the passing lanes and they had a really good game plan,” said Klassner. “We played their game for the first half, and we played our game for the second half. It was two different halves of field hockey.”
About 10 minutes after Christian’s goal, Wesneski added to Sem’s lead when she knocked the ball in from the goal line for a 2-0 lead.
Wesneski’s goal was assisted by freshman Anna Mozeleski, who capped the scoring with a goal of her own at the 5:08 mark.
“That’s something that we’ve worked on,” Klassner said when asked about three different players scoring three goals. “What we say to the kids is, if someone is not scoring, someone else has to pick up the slack. I think we’re tough to defend.”
Goalkeeper Mia Magnotta faced three shots and blocked them all, including an impressive, sliding save she made in the first half on a penalty corner to keep the game tied 0-0.
Sem outshot Bermudian Springs, 10-3, but it was that stout Eagles defense in the first half that kept the game close.
Now one of only eight teams remaining in the Class A tournament, Sem’s quest to another state final continues Saturday.
Sem will play District 11 champion Lehighton, a 2-1 winner in the first round against Susquenita.
“We’re pretty blessed with the kids we have now, because we don’t have to depend on one person every night,” Klassner said. “That’s what’s going to give us strength going down the stretch. But the thing is, though, we have to play better than we did tonight. Hopefully, we got the jitters out tonight.”
SECOND HALF: Julia Christian (Sem) from Bari Lefkowitz, 20:58; Alex Wesneski (Sem) from Anna Mozeleski, 10:44; Mozeleski (Sem) from Aubrey Mytych, 5:08.
Shots: Sem 10, BS 3. Corners: Sem 5, BS 3. Saves: Sem (Mia Magnotta) 3, BS (Melania Shoop) 7.
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