FACTORYVILLE — The most thrilling play in field hockey sent the Wyoming Seminary Blue Knights into wild shouts of excitement.
It also left Lackawanna Trail with heads hung in heartbreak.
Freshman Kelsey Reznick scored on a penalty stroke with 2:19 remaining in overtime Wednesday, lifting Sem over Trail 2-1 and to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 4 championship.
“My heart was racing,” Reznick said. “It was pretty nerve-racking.”
She could have been talking about the whole game.
Both teams came in tied at the top of Division 4 with 6-2 records, and the game lived up to the billing befitting of two teams fighting for a league title at the tail end of the regular season.
It took until the 13th minute for the Blue Knights to register the first goal. Trail tied it with a quick score in the opening minutes of the second half and the teams played pretty evenly through the rest of regulation — and for nearly 13 of the 15 minutes of overtime.
Then Reznick took off on a rush.
She charged the goal and got off a strong shot with 2:19 to play on the overtime clock. But sterling Lions goalie Sarah Weisenfluh stopped it cold, as the ball first bounded hard off her pad before she trapped it with her leg. The Lions believed they’d escaped a close call, but a penalty — a push in the back — was called.
That left Reznick with a clear, one-on-one opportunity against Weisenfluh as the rest of the players from both teams watched anxiously from the sideline. The Blue Knights rookie took off through the thick grass at Lackawanna Trail, found an opening and attacked it to register the winning goal.
“She was more toward the left side (of the cage),” Reznick said, “and I hit it to the right. I just focused on doing what I usually do and tried not to over-think it.”
The Blue Knights were overjoyed with shouts of celebration. Although both 7-2 Wyoming Seminary and 6-3 Lackawanna Trail have a game remaining in the regular season, the Blue Knights would win the tiebreaker for the division title based on the head-to-head victory should the teams end up tied.
And both teams could be doing it again in the first round of districts, as both appear headed for the Nos. 4 and 5 slots in the eight-team District 2 Class 2A postseason — although Sem could jump Wyoming Area for the third slot based on winning percentage.
“Our goal was to win our division and see what happens,” Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said. “We won our division. Let’s see what happens.”
Another freshman, Aubrey Mytych, saw to it that Sem struck first when she scored 12:52 into the tight, tense game.
But Trail’s Lauren Beemer tied it up by angling in an assist from Courtney Dwyer just 2:35 into the second half, setting the stage for a more than 42 minutes of back-and-forth momentum swings that produced plenty of excitement, but no goals.
“We knew that one goal wouldn’t stand up,” Klassner said. “We said at halftime we needed to come out and score. We’ve been very flat most of the games this year during the first 10 minutes of the second half. We’ve got to work on that a little bit.”
Sem had to work desperately down the stretch to keep Lackawanna Trail from taking the division title.
Alexis Sokach made four strong saves, but had just as much help from the pipes. With 38 seconds to play in regulation, a golden chance at victory for the Lions kicked hard off the right post and bounded harmlessly away — taking the teams along for an overtime ride.
Once there, Lackawanna Trail carried most of the action and barely missed claiming victory when another solid shot kicked off the left post with 7:05 remaining in overtime.
Nearly five minutes after that, Reznick ripped her penalty shot into the cage to decide the Division 4 title.
“Being the division champs, it’s a great win,” Reznick said. “We worked very hard this season. To be able to be champions feels really good for the team.”