WHITEHALL, Lehigh County -- State championship Saturday in field hockey, three games, featuring five teams from District III.
The afternoon game saw Newport come up just short, falling in the 1A title game to state power Wyoming Seminary, 2-0.
The temperatures may have dropped when nightfall came but the drama increased. Fans were treated to two drama-filled finishes that went into sudden death overtime.
The 2A final featured a rematch from the District III gold medal game, between Donegal and Palmyra. The Indians, led by one of the best players in the nation, Mackenzie Allessie, were held off the scoreboard in the first half after her shot from the top of the circle was waved off.
Palmyra was able to pick up the attack in the second, as Lauren Wadas sailed a great look just wide of the goal.
In overtime, both sides made adjustments, which saw Palmyra control most of the pace. It was during a Cougar attack when Allessie, making a great back check, was able to steal the ball, and decided it was time to end the game. Allessie, able to dribble over 70 yards, splitting defenders multiple times before she evades the goalie and sneaks in a back side shot for the game winner and Donegal's second state title in three years. The move didn't surprise Donegal head coach Jessica Shellenberger.
"They had us on our heels there we weren't up getting the calls and I think Mackenzie was like you know what, Mackenzie Allessie, let's end this thing and that's exactly what you want from your star and she did it so I was absolutely floored see her take that ball coast to coast. I knew she could do it I just kept yelling keep dribbling keep dribbling."
As for Allessie, she was all smiles in her No. 2 jersey to give her team state gold.
"This game was the best game we've played all year as a team. We played unbelievable possessions so just to be able to show that we did unbelievable is amazing," she said. Asked about her favorite goal in here career at Donegal, she replied with a smirk.
"State championship easily!"
The night cap, featuring two Mid-Penn rivals, Lower Dauphin (District III champion) and Hershey.
Both student sections made the drive to this eastern Pennsylvania hamlet, and after a scoreless and pretty much mundane first half, the saw the game open up in the second.
Trojan Kylie Wall set up the opening score with a great look to Alex Held who was camped at the back post for an easy goal and a 1-0 Hershey lead.
As the clock ticked down, Lower dauphin found themselves camped in the Hershey half of the field. Multiple inserts came up empty until Kate Sparks ignited the sidelines as she was able to slam home the game tying goal after being denied on her two previous attempts.
Two minutes left in regulation, Lower Dauphin increasing their pressure, but Kit Olmstead stood tall in goal for Hershey. First, coming up with a kick save and then blocking one away with her hip. Determined, the Falcons kept coming, and they earned a penalty shot.
Olmstead, with tigers eye glare, was not fazed. Diving to her left to keep the ball clear of the net, sending a roar into her teammates. The Trojans were able to survive to sudden death overtime.
In OT it was more of the same, Olmstead, denying two more Falcon shots, before Hershey was able to flip the field. It only took one chance, and Kailey, Olbenstine didn't miss firing a shot into the corner of the goal to clinch Hershey's first state title in the programs history.
While some teams have trouble handling the pressure of overtime, others thrive.
"Overtime is our game, we are really good in overtime, we have our quick players on the field at that point and I typically get pretty confident with overtime," said Hershey head coach, Brianna Price. "You never know with LD (Lower Dauphin), because they are such a tremendous program. We just had guys play with heart, and I said 'we can make history here let's do it!'"
Of course it is easy to be confident when you have Olmstead who is off to North Carolina next season as your back stop.
"It was just a state championship (game). You got to come out and play, it's a big game, it's my last game at least on the high school team, so you just need to come out there and get business done," said Olmstead. The senior goalie happy that she is able to be apart of program history.
"I am so so grateful to be part of this winning team and to help our school get this dub."
Lower Dauphin: 1