JOHNSTOWN — After reaching the Section II Class C final last season, the Johnstown field hockey team kicked off its bid for another trip to the title game Wednesday.
The second-seeded Lady Bills shook off a slow start, using a strong second half to post a 7-1 victory over the seventh-seeded Tomahawks at Knox Field in a Class C quarterfinal contest.
“I thought we were too reactionary in the first half, and especially the first quarter,” Johnstown coach Christine Krempa said. “We played much better in the second half. We played the way we usually do.”
Nicole Simon scored twice for Johnstown, while Emily Pertell, Jena Barker and Cole Krempa all finished with a goal and an assist for the Lady Bills, while Ayaka Sasaki and Cole Krempa also scored.
“I’m happy to get the win and move on,” coach Krempa said. “We’re going to build from here.”
Ava Holmes scored the lone goal for Corinth.
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Playing for the first time since last Thursday, Johnstown started slowly. The Lady Bills were kept off the board in the opening quarter by the Tomahawks despite holding a 5-0 advantage in shots and a 4-0 edge in penalty corners.
The second quarter was much like the first until Corinth stunned the hosts with 6:56 left in the opening half, scoring on what would be its one and only shot of the game. Holmes scored the goal for the Tomahawks on an assist from Aubrey Lozier.
“I didn’t know anything about Corinth coming in,” coach Krempa said. “We haven’t played them in a long time. They played tough defense, and their goalie was amazing.”
Johnstown was able to pull even at 1-1 before the half when Nicole Simon scored with 4:24 to play in the second quarter.
The Lady Bills finished the first half with a 21-1 edge in shots and a 13-1 advantage in penalty corners, but were deadlocked at 1-1 thanks to 15 saves from Corinth netminder Sydney Crombach.
At the break, coach Krempa said that she told her team to get back to playing its game.
“We had some jitters in the first half,” she said. “We settled down and played our game in the second half.”
After scoring just once in the first 30 minutes, Johnstown scored four third-quarter goals to take control of the game.
Klingbeil opened the second-half scoring for the Lady Bills on an assist from Pertell to make it 2-1 with 12:09 to play.
Sasaki pushed the advantage to 3-1, poking home a rebound with 7:10 left in the third before Simon scored her second of the game on an assist from Barker with 6:10 left to make it 4-1.
With 1:23 remaining in the quarter, Cole Krempa scored to give the Lady Bills a 5-1 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Pertell and Barker scored in the final quarter for Johnstown to make the final score 7-1.
Crombach finished the game with 35 saves for the Tomahawks. Emilia Haverly didn’t make a save for the Lady Bills, who finished with a 42-1 advantage in shots and a 31-1 edge in penalty corners.
“I’m glad we had this game and didn’t have a bye,” coach Krempa said. “It’s tough to go two weeks without a game. The first sectional game is always tough. There’s usually some jitters and it’s usually an unfamiliar opponent.”
Johnstown (14-3 overall) will host either No. 6 Greenwich or No. 3 Granville in the Class C semifinals next Thursday at 3 p.m. Granville and Greenwich meet today in their quarterfinal matchup.
Corinth finished its season with a 4-10 overall record.
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