Strong effort against Conestoga shows what kind of team Avon Grove can be
● By Steven Hoffman
The Avon Grove field hockey didn’t come away with a win against Conestoga last Friday afternoon, but the strong showing while taking on one of the area’s top teams still pleased head coach Sandy Leiti.
“I think we played well today,” Leiti said after Avon Grove fell 4-1 to Conestoga, a perennial power, in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate. “We scored first and we held the lead. Everybody gave it their all from start to finish, and I think that speaks volumes about what kind of team we can be.”
Conestoga entered the game with 13 wins and just two losses on its ledger. The losses came during an early-season 1-0 battle with Downingtown East and a 2-0 heartbreaker to Unionville. But Avon Grove matched Conestoga’s intensity early on.
Leiti said that Avon Grove did a good job with connecting passes, and the players also hustled on defense.
Avon Grove claimed a 1-0 lead when Ellie Grove scored midway through the first half.
Conestoga battled back with goals by Emma McGillis and Charlotte DeVries, and took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Conestoga continued to build momentum offensively early in the second half, but Avon Grove goalkeeper Sarah Fitzsimons was up to the challenge, deflecting one nice shot and making a good save on another shot.
DeVries eventually added her second goal of the game, and then Kiley Allen scored a goal to make it 4-1.
Avon Grove continued to hustle on offense and defense, showing no quit until the final whistle. The team's coach noticed the effort.
Avon Grove’s record now stands at 9-7 overall, and Leiti said that her team is on an upswing, which is a good sign with district playoffs quickly approaching. If Avon Grove earns a berth in districts, the team is coming together at just the right time.
Lexie Dixson has been one of the team’s consistently good players, and defensive standouts Megan Kuergas and Kaylee Hanway do a good job of stopping the ball and clearing it out for the team.
Leiti said that Fitzsimons’ progress has also been important to the team.
“She has improved a lot over the last year,” Leiti explained.