Thursday, November 19, 2020

Field hockey: WH wins OT thriller; Vernon advances

Warren Hills junior Emily Dvorsky is better known as one of the best defensive players in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area. But the shutdown left back is usually good for one goal per season and she picked a fine time to deliver again in a huge spot.

Dvorsky collected her own rebound and sent the ball into the left corner of the cage to give the top-seeded Blue Streaks a thrilling 2-1 win in overtime against No. 4 Chatham in a Northwest Region C semifinal clash on Thursday afternoon at Warren Hills School District Stadium.

"It's very exciting," said Dvorsky, whose third career goal came with 4:21 left on the clock in the 10-minute extra session. "I had to really put my mind to it [after missing on the first shot]."

Warren Hills is 90-44 all-time in postseason play.

Warren Hills (13-0), which has won eight consecutive sectional titles and 17 overall, will next host No. 10 seed West Morris (9-4-1) -- a 1-0 winner against No. 3 Randolph in the other semifinal -- in the regional title game on Saturday at 1 p.m. This will be the fifth straight postseason meeting as the Streaks beat the Wolfpack in the previous four North 1, Group 3 sectional finals.

Credit fourth-year coach Josie Potter for inserting Dvorsky as the left forward into the seven-on-seven lineup. Warren Hills had gone 37 straight games without needing overtime to determine a winner since a 3-2 triumph against Millburn in the second OT period of their Group 3 semifinal matchup on Nov. 7, 2018. It was the eighth overtime contest of that season for the Streaks.

"[Dvorsky] has unbelievable drive. When it comes down to the wire she puts the ball into the [cage]," said Potter, whose teams are now 14-3 overall in postseason games.

Junior forward Maddie Summitt started the winning drive by bringing the ball up the right side and crossing it over to Dvorsky, whose initial shot was stopped by Chatham goalie Connie Conlan. It was shades of two years ago when the then-freshmen teamed up for the winning goal in overtime to beat Phillipsburg, 3-2, in the second game of the 2018 campaign.

"It was the same goal but in reverse," said Dvorsky, who passed to Summitt on that winner and whose only other goals came against Voorhees on Oct. 2, 2018 and Wayne Hills on Oct. 26, 2019. "I thought my first shot was a good hard shot, but [Conlan] stopped it. I pulled around her [off the rebound] and [the second shot] went in." 

Chatham (11-1), which came in as a decided underdog against a Warren Hills team that many projected to get back to a ninth straight Group 3 final, gave a great account in suffering its first loss, especially in the first two quarters. The Streaks won the statistical battle with big advantages in shots-on goal (10-2) and penalty corners (13-3).

Potter admitted she was a little concerned having not played a game in nine days -- a 5-2 win over Ridge on Oct. 10 -- after receiving a forfeit win over Wayne Hills in Tuesday's opening round. 

"When you go over a week without playing it's real easy not to be ready," Potter said. "Chatham impressed me. They were fast and physical, and had good stick skills. They definitely lived up to their record. I'm so proud of my girls to come out on top the way they did."

The Streaks seemed a little flat early and really didn't get things going until the third quarter, though the offense missed several attempts in the circle either off the pads or wide and were unable to cash in on any of their corners as the Chatham defense packed in near the goal line.

"We felt confident [in overtime] but we were a little nervous since we hadn't played [in an overtime game] in awhile," Dvorsky said. "We expected this to be a really hard-fought game."

Warren Hills senior and Rutgers University commit Sarah Korczukowski put her team on the board first by beating Conlan to the left post on a penalty stroke in the second quarter. Korczukowski, who has six goals this season and 27 for her fine career, also converted on a stroke against Pingry earlier this season -- a 9-0 victory on Oct. 13.

"She's been our most consistent stroker the last two seasons," Potter said of her center midfielder.

Chatham, which scored a pair of one-goal wins over West Morris this season, answered on Alexa Lee's ninth goal of the season with 2:08 left on the clock before halftime. The Cougars hung tough in the third and fourth quarters despite consistent pressure from the Warren Hills offense. Korczukowski scored what appeared to be the go-ahead goal off the Streaks' 13th corner with 7:33 to go in the final quarter, but it was waved off after officials determined that the shot failed to hit the backboard.

Vikings stay in title hunt

Vernon remained as the HWS area's only other unbeaten team with a 3-1 victory over Hackettstown in the Northwest B Region semifinals on Thursday afternoon at Macerino Stadium.

The top-seeded Vikings (13-0), who allowed a goal for the first time this month, will take on Morristown-Beard in the regional hampionship game at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Coach Kieran Killeen's Vernon club is seeking the program's ninth postseason title and first since 1996.

Junior forward and leading scorer Alyssa Van Dalinda scored her 17th goal of the season and has now logged at least one goal in seven straight games, while Julia Gregory and Alicia Mihalko scored their seventh and fifth goals, respectively for the Vikings.


Hackettstown (5-4-1), which has never won a sectional title, had to be happy for the opportunity to resume its season after all fall sports programs were initially shut down for good in October due to coronavirus outbreak at the Warren County school. The Tigers dropped a 1-0 decision to Lenape Valley in their first game back in 18 days last weekend before scoring a 3-1 win over Sparta in the opening round of the regional tournament on Tuesday.

Senior forward Megan Doyle closed out her career with a team-best eighth goal (42nd career) in the loss to Vernon, which had previously beaten Hackettstown, 2-1, on Oct. 17.

Area playoff schedule

Friday, Nov. 20

(All games 2 p.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

Northwest Region A semifinals

Lenape Valley at Pequannock
Newton at Belvidere

Central West Region A final

Lawrence at Voorhees, 4 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21

(All games 11 a.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

Northwest A Region final 

Belvidere at Pequannock, 2 p.m.

Northwest B Region final

Morristown-Beard at Vernon

Northwest C Region final

West Morris at Warren Hills, 1 p.m.

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