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Big Spring Mechanicsburg Field Hockey 3.JPG (copy)

Big Spring’s Alex Kutulakis, front, scored the lone goal in the win over Boiling Springs on Thursday.

BOILING SPRINGS — Thursday’s Mid-Penn Colonial meeting between Big Spring and Boiling Springs at Bud Ecker Field was yet more proof freshman Laney Noreika has a veteran’s mind.

Noreika received a penalty corner feed in the first half, then fed the ball to her right to Haleigh Snyder. Snyder then passed to Alex Kutulakis, who poked a shot at net that eluded a lunging Carly Galbraith with 19:52 remaining in the first half.

But that was not the play design.

“It was actually a set from Laney to Haleigh to Alex. It was like, boom boom passing,” Bulldogs head coach Angie Noreika said. “Laney changed the corner play and we were like, ‘What are you doing?!’”

The original plan was for Laney Noreika to shoot on the corner herself, but the freshman audibled mid-play, passing to her classmate to set up what would become the game-winning goal.

That quick thinking made it 1-0, and it was all the Bulldogs needed to down the Bubblers.

The win was even sweeter beating the Bubblers on their own field.

“It feels amazing,” Laney Noreika said. “We knew coming into it that it was going to be hard, so after pulling out of a game like that, it just felt even better.”

Big Spring’s scoring chances were limited throughout the game.

Boiling Springs (10-6, 8-3) kept the pressure up and forced the Bulldogs (11-5, 8-2) to play in their own territory. But thanks to the spectacular play from goalie Jaime Yaukey in net, the Bulldogs were able to keep their rivals off the scoreboard

“I felt like sometimes we didn’t pass the ball hard enough out,” Laney Noreika said. “We were trying to get out of the circle and we didn’t do that, and we didn’t have the best passing toward each other, so it was kind of like we felt rushed.”

The Bulldogs were forced to play on the defensive for most of the game as Boiling Springs showcased its offensive talents.

However, all it took was Laney Noreika’s heads-up play to change the game.

She is among Mid-Penn leaders with 25 goals and 16 assists in her first year on varsity.

The Bulldogs need to work that out heading into the postseason, especially if they want to keep up a winning streak moving into the first round.

They entered the day No. 7 in the District 3 Class 1A power rankings, with the Bubblers one spot behind. And it now leaves Big Spring tied with Shippensburg atop the division — Boiling Springs is one loss behind both teams.

“It’s very important to go out with wins and not losing your last three games and going in losing,” Angie Noreika said. “We’re such a mental team, so it’s super important.

“Anything helps, and we were just pumped to win and we showed up and played a complete game.”

Big Spring closes the season with consecutive home games: Saturday morning against Waynesboro and Tuesday against West Perry.

Boiling Springs is at Camp Hill on Monday and finishes the regular season up against Shippensburg at home Tuesday.

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Email Mallory at mmerda@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter at The Sentinel.