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Roundabout route to All-Berks final

Posted Saturday, November 04, 2006 by Coach Schmidt

Roundabout route to All-Berks final
For both Conrad Weiser and Hamburg, who meet in a compelling 3-AA field hockey final today, disappointment detoured the path to Hershey.

By Brian Rippey
Reading Eagle

Conrad Weiser and Hamburg are proof that you sometimes can get a second chance.
Given another shot, both are taking full advantage.

The former division rivals set high goals prior to the season and appeared on their way to attaining them.

But a late-season slide against tough competition forced Hamburg to sit out the Berks Field Hockey League playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Conrad Weiser won its third straight Berks II title, but was eliminated in the county quarterfinals by an Oley Valley team en route to its seventh straight league title.

The Hawks and Scouts have recovered from those disappointments quite well. They meet today at 1:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium in the first all-Berks District 3-AA championship game since 1998.

"We were very upset," Hamburg senior Kelsea Schlegel said. "It was the first time we didn't make counties in many years at Hamburg.

"We knew we had to make something for ourselves. We wanted to go far with this team. We're a skilled team, we're a good team and we have what it takes to go far."

The 13th-seeded Hawks (18-5) have proved it by outscoring their opponents 12-3 in four 3-AA playoff wins.

The last one was a 1-0 win over Berks III champion Brandywine Heights, a team that defeated Hamburg twice in five days when the Hawks lost four of their last six in the regular season after a 12-1 start.

The 11th-seeded Scouts (18-5-1) have been just as strong in the 3-AA playoffs, outscoring their four opponents 11-2. The resurgence followed a players-only meeting following the loss in the county playoffs.

"I think it was a wake-up call," Conrad Weiser coach Ann Schmidt said. "They started to play the kind of hockey they're capable of."

Both teams feature balanced scoring and solid defenses.

Caitlin Prutzman led Hamburg during the regular season with eight goals and one assist. Two-time All-Berks first-teamer Rayell Heistand had five goals and six assists.

For Conrad Weiser, Kelsey Pachuilo had eight goals and four assists and Sam Reitz three goals and four assists.

Hamburg is making its fourth appearance in the 3-AA final. The Hawks lost the previous three, including two to Oley Valley in 1995 and '98.

Conrad Weiser will be in the title game for the first time since losing in the 1982 final.

As longtime members of Berks II, Hamburg and Conrad Weiser formerly played each other twice a year. Because Hamburg dropped to Berks III this season, they did not meet.

The Scouts and Hawks are among five Berks teams that will play today and advance to the PIAA Tournament, which begins Tuesday.

Brandywine Heights (21-2-1) will play West Perry (15-4) in the 3-AA third-place game at 11:30 a.m. after Oley Valley (20-4-2) faces Lancaster Mennonite (17-3-1) in the first game at Hersheypark at 9:30 a.m.

Across town at Milton Hershey in the 3-AAA third-place game, Wilson (20-2-2) will face Central Dauphin (17-5-2).

Contact Brian Rippey at 610-371-5070 or brippey@readingeagle.com.

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