Field hockey: Upper Perk moving forward after victory over Pope John Paul II

By DAVE KURTZ

Pac-10sports.com

RED HILL – Jamie Warren admits the 2011 version of the Upper Perkiomen field hockey team is a work in progress - with an emphasis on work.

What the Indians coach wants to see from her charges is dedication and commitment to a sound work ethic - the roll-up-your sleeves, punch-the-clock kind of labor required to turn promise into fulfillment.  

Moments after the Indians dominated Pope John Paul II 4-1 in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Freedom Division clash, Warren was reading signs that her squad was finally getting the message.

“We were a little bit static in the first half,” said Warren after UP improved to 2-1 in the league, 4-1 overall behind a goal and assist from sophomore Casey Umstead. “The last 15 minutes, we started to move the ball.

“We’ve been struggling a little with our offensive ball movement, especially in the last two PAC-10 games. We need to get the girls to see how much they can benefit from good ball movement. We need them to buy into it. There’s not a lot of glory in it. It takes a lot of work.”

There was no questioning PJP’s work ethic at the start. The Golden Panthers broke on top just 3:14 in when Emma Dyson cashed in a direct hit for a 1-0 lead. But Upper Perk quickly answered, with Sabrina Yoder scoring on a tip-in for the equalizer at the 25:10 mark.

“They got the first goal but we didn’t let up,” said Umstead. “We went right back at it, played our game.”

Upper Perk’s game is predicated on possession in the offensive zone – and the Indians ruled in that area. They finished with an 18-4 edge in corners and a 17-6 advantage in shots, but PJP junior keeper Marley Golato kept it close with some head-turning stops in net.

One shot Golato couldn’t contain was Sami Stalford’s sweep off a corner that resulted in a 2-1 lead for the Tribe with 8:40 remaining in the first half.

“The first half we were on defense almost the entire time,” said PJP coach Beth Whalen, filling in for Andrea Carr (family wedding). “Our goalie played great, she kept us in it.”

The Golden Panthers actually had two chances to tie things up early in the second half, but one shot from close range went off the post and another rattled off the left side of the cage.

“If we could have gotten another goal there, it would have pumped us up,” said Whalen.

Instead, it was the Indians who were feeling the pump and getting the jump. Emily Rodenberger scored on a backhand tip – with Umstead getting the assist – for a 3-1 lead with 6:00 remaining. Umstead’s unassisted strike with 3:36 left officially put this one in the books for UP.

“We need to get our girls to realize how effective they can be with good ball control and a lot of movement,” said Warren. “You’re not going to be successful if you’re standing still.”

NOTES: Golato, who finished with 12 saves, had never played goalie before this season. Now there’s no place she’d rather be. “I play catcher in softball, and that helps me in field hockey,” said Golato. “They were asking for volunteers before the season because we didn’t have a regular goalie. Now, I love it.” … The loss drops PJP to 1-2 overall and in the league.