Liberty defeats Lansdowne in regional field hockey playoffs

Lansdowne High’s field hockey season may have ended with a pair of home losses, but coach Lindsey Potter couldn’t have been prouder of the skeleton squad that was limited in its substitutions.

The second-seeded Vikings (7-4) were eliminated from the Class 3A North Region playoffs, 4-1, by Liberty on Thursday, but they played the game without starting goalie Catlynne Arndt, who missed the final two games.

The Vikings had only one available reserve on the bench.

In a 1-0 loss to Sparrow Point in their final game of the regular season, the Vikings also played without Arndt, but they played a tremendous game that junior defender Audrey Melcher described as, “One of the best games I’ve ever seen us play.”

Senior forward Marlaina McCourry, one of three seniors on the Vikings, along with Katelyn Strumsky and Alex Simms, moved to goalie for the Sparrows Point game, where she had played as a sophomore.

Against Liberty, the Lions’ versatile attack was too strong and they scored a pair of goals in each half.

Alayna Freeman and Claire Young scored in the first half and Sarah Haas and Rita Long scored in the second half for the victorious Lions.

Lansdowne’s only goal came in the second half on a four-way connection from the top of the circle.

The passes cruised down the assembly line like clockwork — from Audrey Melcher to Katelyn Strumsky to Colleen Crotsley to Jessica Wheeler — for the goal with 20:41 remaining, but the 3-1 deficit was too much to overcome.

Wheeler, Crotsley, Strumsky and Cathy Nally were trying to fill the offensive void left by the absence of McCourry on attack.

“That’s where we struggled, because we had her all year on our attack line and we lost her, and that is where we struggled at the end,” Lansdowne Potter said.

Lansdowne’s best weapon on offense was Melcher, whose long drives tried to create instant offense.

“My drives are a big thing of mine throughout the game,” Melcher said. “They help getting it up there past the defense and it helps a lot.”

Liberty’ defenders Jaycee Hart and Sarah Barker were keys to keeping the Viking attack from threatening.

Despite the loss, fourth-year coach Potter wasn’t sulking.

“It’s the best season I’ve had as a coach,” she said. “It’s the most fun I’ve had and the most proud I’ve been. We gave it our all.”

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