The Ellis School field hockey team has its sights set on 2012

Written by Joe Koch on .

Three times The Ellis School's field hockey team played Shady Side Academy this season, and three times the Indians eked out one-goal victory margins.

The final installment came on Tuesday night when Shady Side got a late second-half goal from Sydney Mordoh to earn a 2-1 victory for the WPIAL Class AA championship and earn a berth in a first-round PIAA game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against Belleville Mennonite School at Fox Chapel High School.

"We played them well every time we played them," said Ellis School coach Genny Kozusko, who just completed her 27th season as the Tigers' coach. "We had our chances, but we couldn't score. They have an excellent defense."

The Ellis School finished with an overall record of 10-4 and was 9-3 in regular-season section play.
All of the scoring in the WPIAL championship game took place in the second half. After Shady Side took a 1-0 on a goal by Audrey Buckman, the Tigers tied it with 5:10 left in regulation on a goal by Shae LaPlace. But the Indians took the lead for good 29 seconds later on a goal by Sydney Mordoh.

LaPlace, a junior forward, led The Ellis School with 20 goals and seven assists. She'll return along with junior Sarah Ross.

"Those two will make an exceptional combination next year," Kozusko asserts.

She also is expecting major contributions from two freshmen, MacKenzie Haney and Hanaa Malik.

"We have a lot of underclass kids who have some potential," she said. "We need to play them because we'll be losing eight seniors.

Two of them, Mallory Thomas and Maddie Gallagher, played crucial offensive roles on this year's team.

Thomas scored three goals and had five assists. Her value was in keeping the ball in play for the Tigers.

"She would go to the ball all the time, and her scoring isn't indicative of how well she played," Kozusko said. She also played much the season with torn ligaments in her right thumb."

Gallagher had five goals and five assists for The Ellis School this season.