Field Hockey: 2016 South Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

In recent seasons, the Peters Township High field hockey team has come within a whisker of advancing to the WPIAL Class 3A championship game.

Had that happened this season, a PIAA 3A tournament game was in the offing as the statewide organization awarded a berth to not only the WPIAL 3A champion, but also to the runner-up.

The Indians finished second in Section 2 with record of 10-2. Two close losses to eventual WPIAL champion Fox Chapel by margins of 2-1 and 3-1 prevented the Indians from winning a section title.

Against the remaining teams in Section 2, Peters Township had a perfect record of 10-0, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 65-6. That meant they averaged 6.5 goals per game in games not involving Fox Chapel, and they yielded 0.6 goals per game.

But the two losses put them on the road for the semifinals for a game with Section 1 champion Pine-Richland, and a 3-1 loss to the Rams finished the Indians season.

Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair hope to kick down door in 2017: Back when there was a National Football League team known as the Houston Oilers, the team was led by a colorful coach named "Bum" Phillips.

Phillips had the misfortune of going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Oilers not only were in the same division as the Steelers but also were a frequent playoff opponent.

After a playoff loss to the Steelers, Phillips once said, "Last year, we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on it. Next year, we're going to kick [it] in."

Passions in field hockey are as strong as they are in other sports, so the feelings expressed by Phillips might well be on the minds of the players and coaches at two South Hills-based high schools, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.

The two squads play in Class 3A Section 2, and both had a considerable amount of success against Oakland Catholic, Woodland Hills and Allderdice in the 2016 season.

Upper St. Clair went 6-0 against those three teams, and so did Mt. Lebanon. Where things went south for the Panthers was an 0-6 record against the top three teams in the division: champion Fox Chapel, runner-up Peters Township and the Blue Devils.

While Mt. Lebanon was a perfect 8-0 against everyone else in the section, all four of their section losses came against the section leaders. And that was just enough to keep the Blue Devils on the sidelines while both Fox Chapel and Peters Township advanced to the WPIAL playoffs.

Both Fox Chapel and Peters Township appear to have solid teams returning in 2017, but there always is hope for both the Blue Devils and the Panthers.