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Field hockey: New Hope three-peats


Each time is different. Each time is challenging.

But the New Hope-Solebury field hockey team keeps finding ways to climb the mountain.

The top-seeded Lions defeated second seed Springfield (M) 2-0 in Tuesday’s District One Class A championship at Lower Moreland’s Valley Center Park.

It is the third consecutive District One Class A title for the Bicentennial Athletic League champion Lions, making them the only team to ever win the crown since the classification was established in 2017.

New Hope was the Class 2A runner-up in 2016.

The game was scoreless at halftime.

Kate Dougherty broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half when she took a feed from Lilly Smith and snuck it past Springfield goaltender Rebecca Berglund.

“We definitely felt the pressure of trying to win our third district title in a row but in the back of our heads we knew what we needed to do,” said Dougherty, a junior who is also a standout on the lacrosse and basketball teams. “We had experience because we’ve been here before and that helped us.

“It was 0-0 at the half and that definitely made us realize how hard we had to play and that we had to pick it up in the second half. We knew they were a tough team but we just needed to play our game.”

Dougherty iced the cake with her second goal with 1:09 remaining in the game.

“It definitely felt good to get that second goal, especially with so little time left,” Dougherty said. “That took the pressure off.

“We just want to keep going strong. We know we can get far we just have to keep up the intensity and keep working hard.”

New Hope had 11 penalty corners in the game and gave up just one to Springfield. The Lions outshot the Spartans, 13-2.

“It’s always exciting to be in the district final,” New Hope coach Gwen Smith said. “I knew it was going to be a very formidable game and it was. It was tied at halftime, so it was anybody’s game.

“It was totally a relief to see the ball go in the cage. In the first half we were definitely a little frantic. We couldn’t pass the ball, we couldn’t receive the ball, all the ideas were there but we just couldn’t finish the play and I could just see our nerves were ramped up. The message at halftime was that we needed to settle down, support each other and just play our game.

“It was a better second half. Springfield is so skilled, they’re so fast, they’re well coached and we had to be ready for that.”

New Hope (21-0), which has yet to surrender a goal this season, will take on the District 11 runner-up, either Moravian Academy or Northwestern, in the first round of the PIAA tournament on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Springfield (16-5), the Suburban One League American Conference third-place finisher, also advances to the state tourney, playing District 12 champion Lansdale Catholic.

“The last couple of years we haven’t gotten past the quarterfinals and this group really wants to get past that,” Smith said. “They have the motivation. We just have to do it.”