Honesdale suffers a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to DV in field hockey finale
A big, vocal contingent of fans traveled to Wallenpaupack Area Monday night to cheer on the Lady Hornets in their quest for a first-ever District Two championship in field hockey.
Honesdale had advanced to the finals via a thrilling 2-0 victory over Abington Heights in the semis, which set up a much-anticipated showdown with defending Class AAA champion Delaware Valley.
And, for once, the actual game lived up to all the hype. The two teams battled right down to the wire before the Warriors finally emerged with a hard-fought 1-0 decision.
“I'm very proud of this team,” an emotionally spent Honesdale coach Carly Propst said just moments after the final whistle. “The girls played hard from the beginning of the game to the end. They gave 100 percent and that's all I can ask. They left it all out there on the turf.”
With this heartbreaking loss, the Lady Hornets end their 2018 season with an overall record of 11-8-0.
The Warriors, meanwhile, advance to this year's PIAA Class AAA state tournament. It's the second straight trip to Hershey for Coach Lindsay Gonzalez's squad.
Delaware Valley will begin its gold medal quest on Tuesday, Nov. 6, time and opponent TBA.
Monday's District Two title tilt was a grueling, physical affair right from the very start as both teams battled for advantage.
The first, and arguably most crucial development of the first half, came just five minutes in when Lady Hornet senior star Brooke Gardas was knocked out of the game with an apparent concussion.
“That was a huge loss for us,” Coach Propst admitted at halftime. “Brooke is a big part of everything we do and not having her out there definitely hurt.”
To their undying credit, though, the Red & Black soldiered on. Battle-tested veterans Nicole Longman and Mandy Gunuskey teamed up with talented youngsters Katy Corcoran, Chloe Fox and Leah Krol in taking the attack to DV.
Defensively, the back line of Grace Maxson, Gina Dell'Aquila, Sarah Meyer and Chloe Nicolini worked tirelessly to frustrate every Warrior incursion.
“This is the most positive bunch I've ever worked with,” Coach Propst said.
“There was no drama this year. When these girls got knocked down, they bounced right back up. DV had us in trouble a couple of times in the first, half but we stood our ground.”
Skyler Padgett paced the Warrior attack. The tall, lanky senior forward made countless runs at the Lady Hornet cage, but she was turned away each time.
Nicole Miszler once again anchored Honesdale's defense. The precocious freshman goalie made one sensational save after another, frustrating Padgett and keeping the match scoreless at intermission.
“I think that Nicole played a fantastic game,” Coach Propst said. “She showed a whole lot of poise for a freshman in a district championship game.”
The two teams came out with guns blazing after the halftime break.
Delaware Valley unleashed a barrage of shots at the Honesdale cage, but Miszler was equal to the challenge. Just two minutes into the second half, Nicole made an acrobatic diving save to keep the defending champs off the board.
The Lady Hornets then countered with several runs of their own, but DV goalie Emily Festa was every bit as solid in holding the enemy at bay. She would close out her night with a total of eight saves.
Unfortunately for local fans, the Warriors finally broke through at the 23:01 mark. Padgett did the damage, hammering home what would prove to be the evening's only goal off a Brenna Cavallaro assist.
Honesdale scrambled to retaliate, launching one assault after another on the DV cage, but to no avail.
The match ended with a 1-0 final score and the Warriors celebrating on Paupack's field turf.
“The girls are really upset, but they have nothing to hang their heads about,” Coach Propst said. “This is only the second team in school history to make it to the district finals.
“I'm really proud of them. And, we'll be back. We're only losing three seniors to graduation, so the future looks really bright.”
Score by Half...
DV (13-7-0) 0 1 – 1
HN (11-8-0) 0 0 – 0