By BILL RUDICK
EAST WHITELAND — Chalk one up to the power of positive thinking.
Prior to the start of West Chester East's Ches-Mont League field hockey game against Great Valley on Thursday afternoon, Chloe Laumakis told head coach Courtney Wolfe, ' I want to score a goal today.'
Wolfe acknowledged the senior and told her that if she got in the game, she would have to score. Now here's the kicker. Coming into the game, Laumakis' goals for the season stood at a big, fat zero. Not once had she scored on year.
Nonetheless, Wolfe put Luamakis in the game, where all she did was notch a hat trick in a 3-2 victory over the Patriots in the regulasr-season finale for both teams.
The loss denied Great Valley (7-6 league) the Ches-Mont American Division title. The Patriots finished one game behind Unionville, which wrapped up its schedule by edging the Vikings on Wednesday. All six of their losses came at the hands of teams from the National Division.
"We simply lost too many one goal games against the other side,' saidGreat Valley coach Joe Tornetta. "Three of our last four were one-goal losses to Downingtown East, Avon Grove and today. After we beat Unionville, I was hoping we'd turned the corner. We had the potential to get it done, we just didn't.'
The game was tied 2-2 when Laumakis broke the deadlock when she completed her hat trick with 11 minutes, five seconds left in the second half.
"I have no idea where this came from,' said a beaming Laumakis. I'm a senior, so this might be the last field hockey game I ever get to play. I'm not sure if I want to try to play in college, so I'm just really excited to get to go out like this.'
Wolfe was equally amused by the sudden scoring outburst from Laumakis.
"She promised she'd score,' said Wolfe. "And then she goes out and gets three. That was the best effort and the best game I've seen Chloe play. I couldn't be happier for her.'
Great Valley, with everything to play for, came out strong and took the early lead when Olivia Muscella converted on a penalty corner. The lone score looked to hold up into the break before Laumakis notched her first goal of the game as the Vikings converted a corner of their own with less than two minutes to play in the half.
If not for the work of East goalie Maryl Walker, the Patriots could have had a big lead at the break. Walker turned away ten shots before giving way to Lexi Barbacane for the second half.
While East stepped up the pressure in the second, it was Great Valley, once again, taking the lead. Awarded a penalty stroke when the ball got covered up by an East defender. Megan D'Ginto delivered a shot over the left shoulder of Barbacane.
"That is a really high pressure situation for any one player to have to deal with,' said Wolfe. "So when those things happen, we just try to step it up and show our support with a goal of our own.'
The goal came nearly a minute later. Laumakis brought the ball through to the far right side of the circle and fired a bullet back across and to the far side of the cage for a beauty of an equalizer.
"We just started getting away from ball control, and it hurt us,' said Great Valley coach Joe Tornetta. "West Chester East did a nice job of getting 2 and 3 girls to the ball. When we would take the time to look up for passes, we'd create something. We just didn't do enough of it.'
The Vikings finished tied with Avon Grove for fourth place in the National at 9-4.
West Chester East 3, Great Valley 2
Great Valley 1 1--2
W.C. East 1 2--3W.C. East goals: Laumakis 3
Great Valley goals: Muscella, D'Ginto
Goalie Saves: Walker (WCE) 10, Barbacane (WCE) 1; Neary (GV) 8.