Loss in states and questionable officiating doesn’t dim shine of 2011 campaign, with 18 wins and runner-up status in districts
By Dave Conard, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com
ASTON — It was apparent from the early returns on election night that the ballot box had been stuffed for the opposition as Unionville battled in the PIAA state playoffs.
The Indians (18-5-1) wasted no time in stating their case to move on in the bracket as Annabeth Donovan capitalized on the first corner awarded of the evening with a laser shot that found the twine in the Warwick goal.
The as the teams were ready to resume play, the officials inexplicably stooped play and disallowed the goal, awarding possession to the Warriors and squashing the surge in momentum that Unionville had built in the opening minutes of a game that would unfortunately be marred by such instances throughout the tilt which brought the Indians season to a close with a 2-1 loss to the District 3-third seed.
The plot thickened, as less than three minutes after Donovan’s goal, the Warriors were awarded a stroke as a result of the ball glancing of a supposed Indians high stick yet it appeared to actually be play of the Warwick defenders stick handle.
Netminder Sam Carlino, who has been nothing short of spectacular all postseason, gobbled up the penalty shot attempt by Emily Hartin by bring her blocker across her body and deflecting the ball harmlessly away.
“It was frustrating tonight,” said head coach Madison Weary. “I never complain about the officials, but tonight the game was taken out of the hands of the girls and that’s what really hurts, I could not be prouder of my girls and they way they handled themselves even through the adversity.”
The Warriors’ defense led by Hartin and Kayla Laughman, whose physicality was allowed to throttle the Indians forwards, continued to hold a huge edge in corners, which of course translated to a 8-2 shots on goal advantage as the teams entered the intermission with the game deadlocked at zero.
“It was horrible tonight,” said senior captain Kelly Close. “We felt like we could have played with them but it just didn’t seem like no matter what we did, we were going to get the call, for them to have ten corners and us get two, when both teams are playing the same way was tough.”
As the second half was underway, the bizarre aura lingered and the ladies adorned in stripes posted their absentee ballot, as at the midway point, Unionville defender Alyssa Hughes was preparing to bring the ball out her own zone, which in itself is no big deal.
The rub came when Indians’ coach Madison Weary and her staff had to bring it to the attention of the officials that at the same time freshman Izzy McDonough was working the ball deep into the Warwick end along with Erin Karcher and Brett Perkins, as for thirty seconds of playing time two balls where in play, yet neither official realized it.
The game then took a turn toward the ridiculous when as the whistle blew, even though at the time Unionville had control of both balls, possession was awarded to Warwick.
Two minutes later a scramble in front of the net led to the Warriors getting on the board first as senior Emma Rissinger was credited for the goal as the ball barley crossed the goal line.
As Unionville struggled to establish any kind of momentum, Sam Carlino who probably plays the ball aggressively in her sleep, was whistled for the third consecutive game for a stroke, as she came out of her crease to play the ball making contact with the ball and the player simultaneously.
“I wasn’t called for any all year,” commented a very disappointed Carlino as she took off her goal tender gear for the last time this season. “This was third game in a row, all I can do in those situations is stop the ball and move on, but it is frustrating.”
In a brave move, Warwick coach Bob Derr sent freshman Jamie Martin, who had been sitting on the bench for most of the game, into action to take the penalty shot, which she was able to squeak under the outstretched blocker of Carlino to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Following a time out called by Weary, the Indians led by junior Katja Hansen, McDonough and Kelly Close found another gear and were finally rewarded for their efforts, with just their second corner opportunity of the game which McDonough was able to put the rebound of a corner shot which was quarterbacked by Hansen, into the Warwick goal, giving Unionville new life just before the polls closed.
“I stand behind the way Sam played the ball 100 percent,” added Weary. “When you get to the state level, the girls should be allowed to play the way they do all season, I coach her to be aggressive and she absolutely played the ball in that case.”
Warwick, who was awarded a 9-2 edge in penalty corners in the game, was content to rag time off the clock in the two minutes and even though the Indians pressured every exchange they could not get the ball deep enough to get another corner chance, which clearly was the difference in the game as Unionville scored on both corner attempts, even though one was disallowed.
“I am so proud of our team,” said an emotional senior captain Kelly Close. “We have come so far in one year and have built such a great team chemistry. I love coach Weary, she put up with a lot of crap from people this year, but she never let it get to her and we have had the best season I ever remember, We have built friendships that will last forever.”
“I really wanted to continue on after tonight,” said freshman Izzy McDonough. “But we just couldn’t get the game tied, it was really hard tonight. I am already excite for next year, our coaches have been amazing all year and we have such a great group of girls will remember tonight all summer as we get ready for next year and hope to go further, it has been an amazing year.”
Warwick (3-3) 0 2 -2
Unionville (1-2) 0 1 -1
W- 15:33 Rissinger
W- 13:30 Martin (stroke)
U- 2:32 McDonough from Hansen
Shots on goal – Unionville 4, Warwick 11
Long Hits- Unionville 2, Warwick 5
Penalty Corners- Unionville 2, Warwick 9