Phia Mannino had a career game at an opportune time.
The Central Bucks East junior had a natural hat trick and assisted on another goal to pace the Patriots to a 6-1 victory over host Central Bucks West in Monday night’s Suburban One League Continental Conference field hockey game at War Memorial Field.
Mannino’s hat trick accounted for the first three goals of the evening to give CB East a 3-0 lead midway through the first half.
“It doesn’t matter what our records are, it will always be a huge rivalry and a huge mental game,” Mannino said. “It’s always a tough game. We really wanted this one, especially for our seniors because it’s their last East-West game. We were super excited to play, especially under the lights. That always makes it bigger.
“We wanted to make a statement and I think it was very important to us to capitalize and score first because that sets the tone for the whole game. It gives us confidence and jump starts us. It gives us that boost of energy that we need to step up right away.”
Central Bucks West earned its first corner of the game with 8:62 remaining and capitalized, as Julia Bunch took a pass from Grayce Reimel and found the back of the cage to send the game into halftime 3-1.
“We led 3-1 at the half but we definitely wanted to keep attacking,” Mannino said. “Their defense is super strong, their sticks are always on the ground you think you have them beat and you don’t so it was important for us to play as if it was 0-0.”
Allison Gallant scored a pair of second-half goals, one with an assist from Kenzie Lever, to extend CB East’s lead to 5-1 and Miranda Szymborski capped the day with a goal for the Patriots with 4:14 to go in the game. Mannino assisted on Szymborski’s goal.
CB East outshot the Bucks 27-6 and held a 9-4 edge in penalty corners.
Brooke Golbeski and Sadie Furgiuele split the goaltending chores for CB West, with Golbeski making seven saves and Furgiuele eight for the day.
Sara Lelii and Claire Natoli each had a defensive save for CB West.
It was the second meeting of the season between the two programs. The first game was a 5-0 CB East win.
“I don’t think the score shows how well we played,” said Lelii, a senior captain for the Bucks.
“We’ve had a tough season with a lot of new varsity players. This was one of the only games we’ve scored in and the fact that we did it against one of the best teams of the league, well I’m proud of us.
“It was 3-1 at the half and coming into the second half we were confident even though we know they have a bunch of DI committed girls and most of our girls just play for fun.
“We had a lot of action on defense. Brooke and Sadie, our goalies, had a crazy number of saves. We lost but I think we played pretty well. The first part of our season was a little rocky but we’ve turned it around.”