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Field hockey: Palisades Pirates clinch playoff berth

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For the Palisades field hockey team, the reward has been well worth the wait.

It has been five years since the Pirates qualified for a District 11 berth, and they also recently clinched a spot in the Colonial League playoffs with an overall 10-7 mark.

The Pirates ended their regular season against Saucon Valley Wednesday evening on their Senior Night (results unavailable at press time). League quarterfinals will begin Saturday with the Pirates likely in the bottom half of the league quarterfinals bracket.

“It has been long overdue for the program,” said head coach Pam Garner, who has directed the team since 2008. “We have six seniors and a lot of sophomores.

“But we have been able to score and that has helped us put it all together. We’ve also played well on defense.”

The Pirates have been led offensively by senior forward Addison Gardner, who had 11 goals and three assists through the first 17 games. Gardner also is a member of the U.S. Rookie Snowboarding team.

“Addison has done a solid job for us,” said Garner. “She and the other seniors have done a great job leading the team.

“Addison has been a very consistent and effective scorer for us.”

Sophomore center/forward Morgan Magditch had nine goals and eight assists during the same stretch.

“She works hard and has been effective in the circle for us,” added Garner. “She also has a good touch on the ball.”

Senior middle forward Paige Kukowski has provided steadiness throughout the year.

“She has provided us with senior stability in the middle,” said Garner. “She has done a great job at dishing for us all season.”

Sophomore goalie Hannah Higgins has recorded 96 saves taking over for standout Amanda Zaner, who is currently playing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“She has had some big shoes to fill,” said Garner about Higgins. “She’s been improving every game and making her presence felt in our defensive circle.”

The Pirates began the season sluggishly with four consecutive losses, but then reeled off five straight wins and turned the wheel on their season.

“We started slowly with losses we probably shouldn’t have had,” said Garner. “But then we got things going and won five straight.

“We had a big overtime win against Palmerton and that helped changed the season for us.”

Garner expects her club to be in the hunt. Semifinals will be Monday at sites to be determined with the finals Wednesday. Districts playoffs have yet to be announced.

Palisades last won a league field hockey league title in 1996.

“We’re playing well as a team and we have good chemistry,” she said. “We know we will have our work cut out for us, but we really have come together well.”


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