EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Friday’s District 1 3A field hockey quarterfinal between top-seeded Unionville and No. 8 Council Rock South turned out to be a lot like the regular season contest between the two teams. It was a low-scoring affair between squads that pride themselves on defense.
And for the second time, it was Unionville that came out on top, with a second-half goal from Madison Miles holding up as the game winner, as the Indians edged the Hawks, 1-0, on a chilly and windy afternoon at Unionville High School.
With the win, Unionville secured a return trip to the PIAA tournament, and remains in contention for another District 1 crown.
“It feels amazing to know we’re going back to states,” said the Indians Annie McDonough. “For a lot of us, this is the third straight year we’re going back. We all work really hard and we keep improving every year.”
Statistically speaking, Unionville dominated, holding a 13-4 edge in penalty corners, and a 21-7 advantage in shots on goal.
“I think we need to work on corners,” said McDonough. “They were coming out a lot farther than we expected, and I think that threw us off a little bit. We knew they were a tough team from playing them earlier in the year.”
Unionville broke the scoreless tie about eight minutes into the second half, when Katie Anderson shot, and Miles grabbed the rebound in a crowd and then pounded it in for the 1-0 lead that would hold up as the final.
“We had a lot of rebounds that we weren’t taking advantage of,” said Miles. “I just knew I had to get it in.”
From there on out, the Indians did what they’ve done well all year: keep the other team off the board.
“Defense is probably the part of our game that has seen the most improvement over last season,” said Unionville coach Erin Curtis. “We had a young team that is growing into a more seasoned and experienced team, and one thing we’ve done really well all season is play defense.”
While the Indians guaranteed themselves a lot in the state tournament, the Hawks aren’t done. They will just now have to keep the season going with a trip through the always-grueling play-back bracket.
“I thought we played well defensively,” said Hawks coach Lisa Belz. “We played them earlier in the year, so we knew they have a few very nice players who could score. We just have to do a better job of getting to the ball as we move on.”
The Indians will square off against No. 5 Central Bucks West, which beat No. 4 Methacton in double overtime, at a site and time to be determined.
“It’s exciting to know we going back to states,” said Curtis. But first we have to work on winning another district title.”
Unionville 1, Council Rock South 0
CR South 0 0 — 0
Unionville 0 1 — 1
Goalie Saves: Van Aken (CRS) 11, Gaebel (U