KINGSTON – The first District 2 Field Hockey Senior Classic went more than 30 minutes before a goal was scored.
It was not because of a lack of offensive talent.
In a game populated by multiple NCAA Division I recruits, players who have led extended postseason runs and all-state performers, Dallas goalie Melinda Ratchford was the most dominant force in the first of four 20-minute quarters.
Ratchford’s eight first-quarter saves paved the way for the East to carry a shutout into the final 80 seconds of a 3-1 victory at Wyoming Valley West’s Spartan Stadium.
The West had a 10-0 advantage in shots and took the only penalty corner in the first quarter.
Ratchford, however, kept the game scoreless with a series of stops, both routine and difficult. She twice turned away Wyoming Valley West’s Mercedes Jasterzenski on rebounds, including once when she scrambled up from on her knees from the original stop in order to reach high and bat away an aerial attempt.
“I jumped and smacked it down,” Ratchford said. “It was just a rapid-fire shot.
“Usually, it’s hard to get to a rebound on those.”
While the majority of the games players are headed to college, the all-star contest represented the final game of Ratchford’s field hockey career.
In addition to field hockey, Ratchford was a state qualifier as a member of two relay teams before giving up swimming after her sophomore year, in part to spend more time on lacrosse, the sport she hopes to continue into college.
“We didn’t really know each other, so we didn’t know how we would all play together,” Ratchford said. “ … I just tried to talk to them as if they were my teammates.
“I didn’t know all their names, so sometimes I would call out a number and guide them through because sometimes they would lose track of a player.”
Ratchford spent three seasons as starting goalie at Dallas. Postseason honors have not been announced this season, but she already was twice named District 2 first-team, all-star goalie by NPFSports.com and received all-star honors from the Times Leader as a junior.
Dallas teammate Samantha Banks joined Ratchford on the East team that also included players from Abington Heights, Abington Heights, Holy Redeemer Crestwood, Hanover Area, Meyers, GAR, Pittston Area, Wallenpaupack and Coughlin.
Schuyler Smith from Abington Heights scored the East’s first and last goals.
Leah Mullery from Holy Redeemer scored a goal while teammates Leah Mullery and Kat Finnegan had assists. Crestwood’s Morghan Murphy also had an assist.
Madison Woods from Wyoming Valley West scored with 1:18 left to break the shutout for the West.
The West finished with a 14-10 lead in shots and a 10-4 advantage in penalty corners.
Ratchford was not called on to make any saves in the scoreless third period.
Lake-Lehman’s Makayla Adams, Lynea Gregory and Madison Klopp played on the West team, along with Tunkhannock’s Alex Falzone, Quinlan Hammersley, Laurel Hopfer and Sarah Seward.
Lackawanna Trail, Wyoming Valley West, Wyoming Seminary as well as Honesdale, Wyoming Valley West, Wyoming Area, Berwick, Delaware Valley and Northwest also had players on the West.
The game, organized by players Megan Reed from Hazleton Area and Mullery from Holy Redeemer, raised $3,000 for Cori’s Place.