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Leah Pala nets hat trick as St. Mark’s picks up first field hockey win


MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s and Newark both entered their nonconference field hockey game on Oct. 11 looking for their first win. The Spartans were the team breathing a sigh of relief after 60 minutes of play, dominating the action on their way to a 7-0 shutout. Leah Pala had three of those.

St. Mark’s played much of the first half with the boys’ soccer team as spectators, as wet weather forced the postponement of the boys’ match with Salesianum until next Thursday. The girls gave their schoolmates plenty to cheer about, breaking through with 18:49 to go and never letting up.

(The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Lindsay Sawyer opened the scoring off a penalty corner, taking the pass from Ciera Fowler and punching a shot in. The goal was initially waved off, but after a brief discussion, the officials confirmed the score.

The Spartans’ shots kept coming, and Fowler did the scoring next, collecting a loose ball in front of Yellow Jackets keeper Maison Bailey and sending it home with 13:51 to go in the half. Another six minutes of opportunities would pass before Lauren Pala got on the scoreboard, depositing a rebound in the cage. A minute and a half later, Leah Pala did the honors, deflecting a Fowler blast past the keeper.

Bailey was under fire all afternoon, but she had a moment to shine late in the half. Facing a Spartans penalty stroke, Bailey went to her right to keep the score 4-0 at intermission.

The ball has crossed the line, giving freshman Leah Pala (8) the first of her three goals on the afternoon.

St Mark’s put the game out of reach in the opening minutes of the second half. Leah Pala scored her second goal at the 28:39 mark off a penalty corner. Pala was parked along the goal line to Bailey’s right and was able to swat a loose ball in. Sawyer made it 6-0 with 26:40 to go, shooting as she was falling forward after a steal. The Palas teamed up for the final goal, with Lauren assisting as Leah completed the hat trick late in the contest.

The Spartans had 12 penalty corners to one for the Yellow Jackets, and they had the shot advantage, 22-1. Melina Carradin earned the shutout. St. Mark’s (1-7) has an eye-opener on Saturday, meeting Newark Charter at Hockessin Montessori School at 9:30 a.m.

Newark fell to 0-7-1 and will travel to Glasgow on Monday at 3:30 p.m.