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The Road to the District 3 Finals: Palmyra Field Hockey

The last time that Palmyra won the District 3 AA Championship was 2020.  Their opponent in the championship round was Hershey.  The Lady Cougars won that matchup by a score of 3-1 and then went on to win the program’s third PIAA State Championship.  2021 was not as kind, with Palmyra missing out on the District 3 Finals as a result of a 3-1 loss to Mechanicsburg in the semifinals.  It’s now 2022 and the Palmyra Lady Cougars are coming off of a semifinals win against Mechanicsburg and will meet Hershey with a chance to bring home the District 3 crown.

As Coach Harshman will tell anyone, he believes that the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference is the most competitive league for field hockey in the country.  In addition to Palmyra, it features Mechanicsburg, Hershey, and Lower Dauphin.  While the regular season matchups do not matter come playoff time, they do allow each of these teams to prepare.  It is not a coincidence that Palmyra had to make it past Mechanicsburg, only to find Hershey in the finals.  It’s also not a surprise that Lower Dauphin is challenging for the District 3 AAA Championship on Saturday.   Even though Palmyra has won one and lost another in their two games with Hershey this season, the scoreboard at the District Championship will read 0-0 when the game begins.  The Lady Cougars have prepared for this moment since last season’s disappointing finish.  All accounts are that they will be ready.

Below is a recap of their games that earned them their spot in the District 3 Championship Game.


First Round – October 29th 

In the opening round of the District 3 Tournament, #1 seeded Palmyra faced the #16 seed Spring Grove Rockets.  Palmyra jumped out early, scoring twice in the first three minutes of the game.  By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Cougars led 3-0.  Adding another goal before halftime, the tough Palmyra defense took over and the score would remain 4-0 the rest of the contest.  In fact, Palmyra’s defense was so tough that they did not allow a shot the entirety of the match.

In this 4-0 win, Palmyra’s scoring was as follows:

1st quarter: 1-0 Alicia Battistelli (unassisted); 2-0 Hadley Hoffsmith  (unassisted); 3-0 Alicia Battistelli (Keely Bowers assisted)

2nd quarter: Hadley Hoffsmith (Mallory Hudson assisted)

Quarterfinals – October 27th

In the this round, Palmyra welcomed #8 Ephrata to their turf.  Once the game began, it was anything but welcoming for the visiting Mounts.  The Cougars bombarded the Ephrata goalkeeper Hannah Popolis in the process of scoring seven goals.  The scoring started close to the midway point of the first quarter and by the time the quarter ended, Palmyra was up 3-0.  They would tack on another goal in the second, two in the third, and one final goal early in the fourth quarter.  Again, the defense made life difficult for the opposition, allowing only 1 shot, which was turned away by goalie Haleigh Lambert.

With this win, Palmyra clinched a spot in the PIAA State Tournament.

The scoring for the Lady Cougars was as follows:

1st quarter: 1-0 Alicia Battistelli (Hadley Hoffsmith assisted); 2-0 Keely Bowers (unassisted); 3-0 Morgan Lantz (unassisted)

2nd quarter: 4-0 Mallory Hudson (Alicia Battistelli assisted)

3rd quarter: 5-0 Keely Bowers (Alicia Battistelli assisted); 6-0 Morgan Lantz (Liv Kirkpatrick assisted)

4th quarter: 7-0 Keely Bowers (Bri Eckenroth assisted)

For more on this game, check out our coverage.


Semifinals – November 2

Having given up a total of one shot and outscoring their opponents 11-0 in the first two games, Palmyra knew it was going to be a huge game as they put on their uniforms ahead of their matchup with #4 Mechanicsburg.  In their regular season series, Palmyra had won the first game 1-0.  The two then tied 1-1 in their second meeting.  Possibly more importantly in the minds of several members of the Cougar community was the 2021 loss to Mechanicsburg.  This matchup remained scoreless at the half.  Shortly after the half, Palmyra was able to break through, scoring twice in just over two minutes courtesy of Alicia Battistelli and Avery Russell.  Mechanicsburg found the back of the cage to make things interesting in the fourth quarter, but Haleigh Lambert was able to turn around all other scoring attempts by the Wildcats.  With this 2-1 victory, Palmyra can forget about last year and if anything, start making comparisons to the 2020 campaign.

Scoring for Palmyra was:

3rd quarter: 1-0 Alicia Battistelli (Keely Bowers assisted); 2-0 Avery Russell (unassisted)

For more on this game, check out our coverage.


District 3 Finals – November 5

The two busses that arrive at the District 3 Championship will be carrying squads that are very familiar with one another.  They were ranked as the top two teams coming into the tournament, with both also being ranked by MaxPreps as being in the Top 10 in Pennsylvania (Palmyra #2 / Hershey #10).  Their previous two meetings this season could not have been more different in terms of the outcomes.  In the first meeting, Palmyra trailed 1-0, but then went on to win the game 6-2.  The second game resulted in a 2-1 Hershey victory, heavily aided by strong play by their goalie Kylie Mullen.  The third meeting is scheduled to take place at 1 pm on Landis Field located at Central Dauphin Middle School.  The winner will leave as District Champs.


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