Venom became the first club in Western PA to win a National Indoor Championship in the U16 & U19 age divisions. Congratulations!
Below are the write ups for this years USAFH National Indoor Tournament (NIT) season. Written in the following order:
The U19 Blue team arrived in Richmond earlier on Friday for their afternoon fixture against cross state club Electric Surge. A great match ensued as the U19 Blue team found themselves against a competitive team trading blows as Captain Pfeifer Hill (1) and Ava Hershberger (1) both scored goals but so did the Surge offense. The final horn blew to end the game and a fair result in the tie as neither team took their chances to put away the winning goal.
On day two the U19 Blue team found themselves against a team they have played before in national competition last year. Majestyx FHC seemed to not have the answer for the Blue team's press. The Majestyx defense got caught in the Venom trap and the goals started flowing in the Blue team’s favour. Ava Hershberger (3) got a hat-trick with Ashley Loftis (1), Lauren Kampi (1), Pfeifer Hill (1) and Fiona Kortyna (1) all scored to end the game with a resounding 7-1 victory and the momentum into the next game.
At the time neither team could know the next game was crucial but what ended up being the pool final the U19 Blue team took the court against Metro HC Silver. The Blue momentum was evident as the Venom side took early control of the game. Taking possession and maintaining pressure Venom struck first with Ashley Loftis (2) put her two in quickly on the left post from Kampi and Ava H. The skilled Metro team didn’t just lie down and take the beating and they answered with a goal of their own. With short corners being even, neither team could convert with defenders Nica Schratz, Maria Duchi and Annabelle Rose putting their bodies on the line to stop the techniques of the D.C team. Fiona Kortyna (1) put one in to make the game 3-1 and that's when Metro put on the pressure. Knowing if you drop a single game at Nationals your destiny is out of your hands the Metro offence kicked into high gear dominating the last 5 mins of the game. The entire Venom team stuck together and managed to see the rest of the game out only allowing one more goal as the final horn blew with Venom victorious 3-2 ending the day in a goal differential race with Surge.
The last day of the indoor season had a tough schedule ahead of the U19 Blue team. Going up against the top club in the country in WC Eagles’ Sky team. The game started with the Venom trap defense working as the WC offense couldn’t penetrate the Venom circle to get close to GK Gwen Hershberger. After holding back the WC offense the Venom structure held and a counter attack led up the right by Lauren Kampi let Ava Hershberger (2) break the tie with a great goal between the keepers legs. After some back and forth hockey, great penalty corners from both teams and goals on said corners from Ava H and Pfeifer Hill (1).The game ended again with Venom looking at a 3-2 victory and one more game to decide the National Championship.
The Columbus team FHL was up next for U19 Blue who has taken both pool rivals Surge & Metro to one goal games. With Metro and Surge playing on the court behind the Blue team the stage was set. If the U19 Blue team wins and so does Surge it’s a count of goal differential and Surge has a 2 goal lead. If Metro beats surge and U19 Blue tie or lose, Metro wins the National Championship. The horn blows and the hockey is calculated and steady. Neither team wanting to break first the play stays in the midfield. A barrage of U19 Blue penalty corners tested the Columbus defense until Ava Hershberger (1) put in one top right beating the keeper high. Hearing rattles of the backboard and cheers from the Metro team didn't distract them from the game. The first half ended with an unfortunate mistake from the Blue backfield which ended in a FHL goal. The second half started with the U19 Blue team on a mission, get the next goal. After another barrage of penalty corners the FHL defense stayed strong until 2 mins left in the game and Kampi sent the insert of the final corner of the game and veteran defenseman Nica Schratz stepped up and pounded the ball rattling the backboards. As the Venom cheers rang through the convention center the Metro FH bench could only look over their shoulders as the U19 Blue shut down the last mintues the game to secure the first ever U19 National Indoor Championship for Venom and any Western PA region team.
Congratulations on your undefeated 4-0-1 Pool U National Indoor Championship!
Player of the Tournament: Pfeifer Hill (3 Goals, 1 Assist)
Back Row: Coach Jenna, Pfeifer Hill, Ashley Loftis, Hope Husak, Fiona Kortyna, Nica Schratz, Annabelle Rose, Coach Ben. Front Row: Coach Jenna, Maria Duchi, Lauren Kampi, Ava Hershberger, Gwen Hershberger.
The Blue team kicked off their campaign on Saturday with a grueling 3 games in one day. Being the only Venom team to win a regular season tournament the team set out to prove their worth on the National stage after a 2nd place finish last year. Field Hockey Life from Columbus was first on the docket and U16 Blue showed their mindset by putting 4 goals in quick succession. Abby Hershberger (1), Ava Hershberger (2) and Ruby Jacops (1) got the four goals with assists from Ava H & Madison Keenan. With stellar defense from defenders Dani Deer, Julia DeFoggia & Maddy Keenan they helped GK Jordan Ashbaugh to a 4-0 shutout victory.
The formidable New Jersey team NJ Starz were next. After letting in an early goal to the NJ side the U16 Blue team settled in and racked up the goals as Callie Rautenbaugh (2) got on the tournament score sheet putting in two goals as Abby H (1) got one with Ava H (3) getting a hat-trick to round off the 6-1 win. Assists on those goals go to Keenan who got one as well as Ava H.
Last on the marathon first day of Nationals was against the Baltimore rival Ballyhoo. The U16 Blue team were on a roll from the previous win and the goals kept flowing. Another 6-1 victory and another straight hat-trick plus one performance form Ava H (4) with Callie (1) and Abby (1) helped by Ava H twice and Julia DeFoggia rounding out the 6 goals ending on a perfect 3W-0L-0T day one.
Day 2 and the U16 Blue team knew their fate was in their hands being tied with Central Penn FH they first had to get through the club giant X-Calibur. The team from Eastern PA put up a fight but the flood barriers burst in the second half and they saw a tense few moments as X-Calibur struck first but with a 6 goal answer from another hat-trick from Ava H (3), Isabella Arnold (1), Callie R (1) and Abby H (1). Special shoutout to GK Jordan Ashbaugh for stopping a penalty stroke as well as a multitude of shots from the skilled cross state rivals.The game ended with Venom as victors headed to a true Nationals Final against CPFH, winner takes the Championship in the last game of the tournament.
The two undefeated teams clashed on court 6 of Spooky Nook Sports as the hockey was fast and furious and both teams were rising to the occasion of a National FInal. Central Penn were well disciplined and it took a penalty corner set piece for Ava Hershberger to break the tie shooting top right blasting past the keepers blocker. As play continued it was a back and forth affair with neither team gaining much advantage. With only 2 penalty corners for each team, the chances on goal were rare. The second and last PC was expertly put again top right by Ava H to rattle the central PA team only after they put in their only goal to tie the game breifly. As the game wore on the CPFH defense got tired and was taken full advantage of by Ava H as she dribbled up the middle twice to deke the GK and secure the 4-1 victory and the first ever U16 National Championship for not only the club but the first ever in the U16 division by any team from Western PA.
Congratulations U16 Blue for your undefeated 5-0-0 Pool Y National Indoor Championship!
Player of the Tournament: Ava Hershberger (16 Goals, 6 Assists)
Back Row: Coach Jenna, Coach Kyla, Dani Deer, Sophia Boyle, Ruby Jacops, Abby Hershberger, Isabella Arnold, Coach Ben. Front Row:Jordan Ashbaugh, Julia DeFoggia, Callie Rautenbaugh, Madison Keenan, Ava Hershberger.
The U19 White team traveled down to Richmond, VA for their first ever National Indoor appearance. After getting a late admission to the tournament they set out determined to show their skill at the national stage. Late Friday night, the last game of the day in the tournament the U19 White team faced off against Frontier FH. Getting used to the bright lights of the national stage and the twang of the metal boards Marnie McCormick (2) put in both Venom goals with one from great solo play and one with the help of Sophia Bovino. After letting in one unlucky goal GK Carolione Sarneso and defenders Delaney Lentz, Bovino and Mary Wymard kept them from the scoresheet to keep them at 1. The opposing defense was being equally as stout only letting up one of our 9 short corners, the game ended with the White team taking the first game by a score of 2-1 ending the day victorious.
Day 2 was a shock to the system as the White team was slow to adjust to the speed of Nationals going up against a well drilled Mayhem team they dropped the second game 1-11 with Mary Wymard getting the only Venom goal with an assist from Delaney Shusko. The team had little time to compose themselves as only a 5 min break then they went head to head with the eventual pool winner’s Central PA titan CPFH. The team was more structured against the CP offense but the cracks showed and the purple opponents took almost all of their chances and put 9 in but was stopped on a Penalty Stroke by GK Caroline Sarneso as she stunned the attacking player with a brilliant save. The offense saw two bright beacons of hope as Delaney Shusko (2) put in two brilliant goals with assists from Bovino & Mary.
After dropping the two middle day games the U19 White team looked to end the season on a better note. They came out of the gates unfortunately on the back foot as they ran into trouble against Alpha Hockey and couldn't convert any of their chances missing the inside of the post multiple times. The game ended 0-4 for Alpha.
PA United was last on the schedule as the U19 White team took the Nationals floor once more and put in a stellar performance as GK Caroline S had a breakout performance in her first Nationals and kept the score to a modest 0-5 for PA United.
Congratulations U19 White on your first ever appearance at Nationals and 5th place (1-4-0) in Pool Y.
Player of the Tournament: GK Caroline Sarneso (1 Penalty Stroke Save)
Delaney Shusko, Sophia Bovino, Sydney Lisak, Victoria Cuba, Caroloine Sarneso, Mary Wymard, Marley Pistella, Delaney Lentz, Marnie McCormick
The U16 White team arrived at Spooky Nook late on Friday evening to go up against State College Blue Lions. With a breakout performance the White team set out on their first ever appearance at Nationals winning the first game 6-0 with two goals each from Mia Brinkley, Aly Solomon & Ava Zimmer. They had assists from Zimmer, Brinkley & Anna Drum. The defense was especially strong, Sophia Hershberger, Ava Zimmer, Caroline Miller, Eliana Jones & Avery Snowden all rotating to shut the Lions attack down giving goalkeeper Kayla Joyce her first Nationals shutout.
Day two had three games in store for the White team so we had our work cut out for us. The day started against Rebels. This game was being live streamed on the USAFH YouTube channel.
Game 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVh2Dc-DGmI Game Time Stamp: 08:51:08
A tense back and forth game saw the Venom fighting from behind but Sophia Hershberger and Aly Solomon had great chemistry helping each other to give us a tie at 2-2. With seconds left Brinkley hit the post and the game ended tied.
Another tough game came next as the long middle day stretched on. Next was Summit Monadock. With almost all the stats being tied forward Anna Drum got our only goal from Solomon. A tense few minutes as short corners went back and forth, the final horn blew and the score remained locked at 1-1.
The third and final game of day 2 was against Eastern PA powerhouse X-Calibur. A tough game which wasn’t in our control wasn’t by fatigue of 3 games. We got goals from Aly Solomon and Ava Avampato with an assist from Avery Snowden but being outmatched they dropped their 4th game 2-5.
The final day gave us two games but only 1 game was counted for our record against Long Island. With a long rest overnight, the White team came back out on the court with purpose and with goals from Anna Drum and Brinkley (2) helped by Zimmer and Solomon the tournament ended with a solid 3-1 win.
Congratulations U16 White team on your 2-1-2 record and 3rd place in Pool Z.
Player of the Tournament: Kayla Joyce (GK) (1 Shutout)
Back Row: Anna Drum, Avery Snowden, Mis Brinkley, Sophia Hershberger, Ava Zimmer, Aly Solomon, Eliana Jones, Ava Avampato, Isabella Elm, Kayla Joyce, Caroline Miller
Our U14 team traveled back to Spooky Nook sports for one final time this year to compete at nationals in USA Field Hockey’s National Indoor Tournament. We were placed in Pool V against Infinity, CPFH, Team AGH, Mayhem & Souderton Strikers.
The tournament kicked off on Saturday evening as the team took to Court 3 which was being live streamed on USAFH’s YouTube channel.
Game 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_slDmXqB0yg&t=28454s Game Time Stamp: 07:54:15
In the first ever Venom live broadcast game the U14’s took to the floor with poise as they took demanding control of the court with Captain Mia Brinkley putting in 5 of her own goals with Addison Burns, Josie Schomburg and Captain Sophia Brinkley getting one each. Ava Williams got 2 assists with Mia also getting two helpers. One unlucky play led Infinity to a goal but when the final horn sounded Venom was on top 8-1.
Day two started with a bang as PA rivals Central Pennsylvania Field Hockey proved little in the way of competition as the goals kept flowing. Mia got another two goals from Ava. Taylor Murphy got her first of the tournament while Josie & Sophia got another one each from Mia & Taylor. Shoutout to Goalkeeper Ashley Tornatore who recorded her first shutout as she kept CPFH off the score sheet.
The competition ramped up dramatically when the team met Team AGH from New England. A back & forth game was intense as neither side got a lead more than a goal. With goals from Mia (2), Ava (1) and Anvi Chopra we managed to squeak out a tie with the scoreline 4-4.
The third and final day kicked off against Mayhem Eagles and very quickly Mia got a hat-trick with Sophia getting in on the action. The helpers from Taylor, while the captains got assists on each other’s goals linking up in excellent open play passing.
The national championship came down to this last game with other results needed on other courts. The last game started in quick fashion. Fatigue seemed to set in while Ava & Sophia achieved a goal each. It wasn’t enough to match up and the defense couldn’t hold the strong attack back leading to the U14’s dropping the last game 2-5. With AGH winning their last game with a plus 7 goal differential the U14’s had to settle for 3rd place in the pool.
Congratulations U14’s on your 3-1-1 record and getting 3rd in Pool V.
Player of the Tournament: - Mia Brinkley (12 Goals, 5 Assists)
Back Row: Coach Katie, Sophia Hershberger, Anvi Chopra, Mia Brinkley, Coach Ben. Front Row: Addison Burns, Ashley Tornatore, Lilliana Rose, Taylor Murphy, Josie Schomburg, Ava Williams.