LEWISTOWN - The first 10 minutes of Mifflin County's field hockey date with Central Dauphin Friday looked like the grudge match it promised to be.
But a successful drive by the Rams quickly turned the game into a repeat of the first-round state matchup between these two a year ago - the only difference was the final score: Central Dauphin 4-2.
The turnaround was sudden in a game the Huskies dominated early. Mifflin County was aggressive with the ball, keeping Central Dauphin in its defensive end and the Ram defense on its feet. But a flurry of tries at the goal all came up dry.
Sentinel photo by JEFF?FISHBEIN
Mifflin County’s Grace Wagner, right, beats Central Dauphin’s Megan Wenrich to a ball Friday in their Mid-Penn field hockey game. Looking on is the Huskies’ Mary Havice (31). See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
It was just the second trip up the field for Central Dauphin when Katie Foran scored on a cross in front of the cage 11 minutes in. Forty seconds later, Molly Mariano made it 2-0 on a breakaway when she got behind keeper Jordan Myers.
"It was frustrating," Mifflin County coach Tish Maclay said. "The first 10 minutes I thought we looked amazing."
But then, after the quick scores, she sad, "It's like we lost our fight."
r Mifflin County travels to Line Mountain Monday
For the Huskies, it went downhill from there. Central Dauphin, which plays a high percentage of its games on artificial turf, seemed to get its sea legs at that point, limiting Mifflin County's opportunities as time went by.
One of those, roughly 20 minutes into the game, was a heartbreaker for the home team. Whitney Strohecker played a ball across the circle to Sam Peters, who stroked it toward the goal - but it went wide. In the final moments of the half, Mifflin County had more opportunities, but shots were not hard on the cage, and even a bevy of corners to end the half came up dry.
Worse yet, the Rams added two more in the last five minutes of the half - Foran set up Mary Nell Smith with a cross for the third goal, and Smith scored the final tally for her team on a rebound off Myers' pads.
The first half was statistically tilted toward the Huskies, but not one ball made it in the goal. The second half widened the gap in shots even further - the Rams got all the corners in the second, but got nothing out of them - but it took three trips down the field after the break before the Huskies finally got on the board.
But another 20 minutes ticked off until goal No. 2, which would be the last.
Peters scored first for the Huskies, taking a feed from freshman Nikita Edmiston and sending it the distance to break the shutout.
The effort that was necessary to score the second goal was, in part, a sign of Central Dauphin goalie Halle Frisco's effectiveness in front of the cage - just before letting that one in, she knocked down two strong shots, one a stick save.
But it was also a sign of Mifflin County's tenacity late in the game, as the Huskies pushed until Grace Wagner managed to bury one to make the 4-2 final.
"In the second half we played better but we already dug ourselves a 4-0 hole," Maclay said. "I told the girls this is a game you should be up for, should be hungry for."
Mifflin County (3-4, 2-3) has a non-league date at Line Mountain Monday.