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Twin Valley beats Southern Lehigh in overtime to reach PIAA Class 2A field hockey final

Redemption came quickly for Makayla Carahaly.

Like in less than 90 seconds.

After missing on a chance to end Tuesday’s PIAA Class 2A field hockey semifinal against Southern Lehigh at Exeter’s Don Thomas Stadium, Carahaly would not be denied the second time.

Her goal 3:11 into the seven-on-seven overtime lifted the Raiders to a 1-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Spartans and into Saturday’s state final.

“I missed a tip,” Carahaly said of a scoring chance that came off a corner 1:48 into OT. “So the second one, when it came to me, I knew I had to give everything and I just put it all on the line.

“I was just in the moment. It was in front of me and I just put it over the goal (line). It was such a great moment. It’s one of the best moments of my life, just having the people I’ve loved, I’ve grown up with them since youth hockey. It was such a special moment.”

That goal ended what had been a dominant, albeit frustrating, night for the Berks and District 3 champion Raiders (26-2) with a joyous rush onto the field.

Twin Valley Raiders teammates celebrate their 1-0 overtime win over the Southern Lehigh Spartans a PIAA Class 2A Semifinal game at Exeter High School, Tuesday, November 16, 2021, in Reiffton, PA. (Tom Boland — Special to the Reading Eagle)

Twin Valley, which will make its first appearance in a state final since winning the Class 2A title in 2015, will face District 1 champ Gwynedd Mercy or District 3 runner-up Mechanicsburg Saturday at Whitehall at 12:30 p.m.

The Raiders had advantages of 15-2 in corners, including 11-0 in the second half and overtime, and 7-1 in shots against the District 11 champ Spartans (23-1).

They just couldn’t get the ball into the cage, thanks in large part to a Southern Lehigh defense that concentrated on Natali Foster, the Berks scoring leader, and crowded the circle.

“We were very frustrated,” said Carahaly, who has committed to play at Ohio State. “They were a very talented defense. We felt like we just couldn’t get a shot off.”

Twin Valley had one shot off four corners in the first half, then managed four shots off nine corners in the second half.

The Raiders had a few quality chances. Foster and Emma Winther had shots that forced tough saves from Southern Lehigh’s Macey Reese in the third quarter.

Foster and Hadley Munn got off shots that Reese saved early in the fourth, and another shot hit the post with 6:23 left in regulation.

“I had confidence that we would (score),” Twin Valley coach Kim Walsh said, “but you’re always part of those games where it’s corner after corner and then one drive down to your defensive end and that’s the game.

“The girls worked through their frustration. They never stopped believing in themselves and they were able to finally put one away.”

Twin Valley’s Makayla Carahaly (8) defends against Southern Lehigh’s Iris Gluck (21) during a PIAA Class 2A Semifinal game between the Southern Lehigh Spartans and the Twin Valley Raiders, at Exeter High School, Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Reiffton, PA. (Tom Boland — Special to the Reading Eagle)

In overtime, with eight less players on the field, things opened up considerably for the Raiders.

“We knew we had the advantage,” Carahaly said.

The Raiders’ first corner of OT came with 8:12 left. That’s the one that resulted in what Carahaly thought was a missed chance. The second came with 7:10 left.

Carahaly sent the ball off the corner to Foster, who shot and was credited with an assist. After that, it was all a blur for Carahaly, though it appeared she put in a follow after a save by Reese.

“It’s so exciting,” Carahaly said. “Senior year. It’s all I could ask for.”

“This crew. I’ve watched them from youth on up,” Walsh said. “And yeah, they are such a big part of my heart and my life and I’m so happy. They put in so much work for this. They deserve to be going on.”

Twin Valley Raiders Coach Kim Walsh, Natali Foster (13) and Maddie Stevens celebrate their 1-0 overtime win over the Southern Lehigh Spartans in a PIAA Class 2A Semifinal game at Exeter High School, Tuesday, November 16, 2021, in Reiffton, PA. (Tom Boland Ñ Special to the Reading Eagle)


Source: Berkshire mont

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