Field Hockey: Knights power through first round

Emily Crawford carries the ball, using her speed to get past defenders.

TOWAMENCIN- “From the minute the whistle blew to start the game, we played with our hearts. You could see it on the field, we really wanted this one,” said North Penn senior goalie Anissa Gardizy.

The North Penn Knights Field Hockey team (10-2) struck early against the Souderton Indians (4-9) in the first round of the District One playoffs. The theme for the Knights seemed to be total team effort in their 5-2 rout of Souderton.

“Usually in games, you can say the defense lead the team, or the offense lead the team, but tonight everyone on the turf lead the team. It was an all out team effort,” said Gardizy.

North Penn started off strong with senior Mikayla Barrow scoring within seconds. It was then followed up just minutes later with a goal by junior Emily Crawford. Both goals were off of corners.

After the two early goals by North Penn, Souderton had very few chances to score until they snuck a shot into the cage past Gardizy, reducing the deficit to one.

“Souderton is a team that can stay with you throughout a game.” said Head Coach Shannon McCracken.

At the very end of the half, North Penn earned a corner, and they executed a goal with no time left on the clock. Barrow sent a ball towards the goalkeeper and it was junior Kristin Varilla who tipped it in.

“It was really awesome to get that goal in before the half. It gave us an extra confidence boost going into the second half,” said senior Bri O’Donnell.

The second half started with some strong pressure from Souderton, but that was quickly silenced by Gardizy and her fortified defense. The efforts from the backfield were matched with explosion on the Knights’ forward line. North Penn’s fourth goal was credited to senior Erica Kelly off of yet another corner. The Knights scored four of their five goals off of corners.

Souderton, trying to stay alive in the game, scored their second goal late in the second half. Ahead 4-2, the Knights knew they had to get another goal on the board to secure their lead. North Penn then cemented a 5-2 lead and the win with their fifth and final goal by Crawford.

“It was big. Moving forward we have so much energy and confidence that we all feel will really boost our level of play,” said Crawford.

The Knights will move on to play Plymouth Whitemarsh Wednesday night for some Round 2 action.