Sacred Heart is surprise team of hockey playoffs

By Don Beideman

Sacred Heart has become one of the surprise teams of the PIAA District 1 Class AA field hockey playoffs.

After the seventh-seeded Lions dispatched No. 10 seed Gwynedd Mercy, 2-1, in overtime, they came back and stunned No. 2 seed Merion Mercy in the second round.

By beating No. 3 seed Upper Perkiomen, 2-0, in the semifinals, the Lions (12-0-1) earned another crack at Villa Maria in Saturday’s district championship game. It will be their fourth meeting of the season.

“It’s what we were hoping for,” said Kerri Crumlish, who scored both Sacred Heart goals in the victory over the Indians. “We’re going to enjoy playing them again.”

Villa Maria swept the three previous games with Sacred Heart by 5-0, 3-1 and 3-0 scores, but that doesn’t bother Crumlish.

“If it’s very difficult to beat a team three times in a season, it’s got to be that much harder to win four times,” the junior forward said.

Crumlish pointed out that Merion Mercy is already assured of a spot in the PIAA playoffs. The top three finishers in the district earn state playoff berths.

Both of Crumlish’s goals against Upper Perkiomen came off offensive penalty corners. Crumlish inserted the ball on both and got it back to score twice in the first half. She has 13 goals for the season.

After the Lions were eliminated in the first round of the district playoffs last season, coach Suzanne Finley had a question for the team.

“I asked them, ‘Where do you want to be next year?’ They said they wanted to go much further. They set some high goals for themselves.”

In a twist, Finley will be facing her former coach in the finals. Finley was a sweeper for Villa coach Maurene Polley before graduating in 2003.

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