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Unionville storms out of gate, beats Downingtown West to reach semifinal

 

EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Unionville racked up 10 goals in the first half of their District 1 Class 3A quarterfinal Saturday morning, en route to defeating Ches-Mont League foe Downingtown West, 17-6.

The Indians raced out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of goals by Emma Malone. However, the Whippets were quick to respond as Corinne Bednarik and Emily Feeney book-ended a goal by Unionville’s Mina Scott to cut the deficit to just one, midway through the first half.

“I think our girls were a little jittery today, especially early on,” Unionville head coach Suzanne Sheehan said. “This was a big game, but once we settled down and found our niche, we were able to have a lot of success.”

With the win, Unionville secured a state berth and advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal at Springfield-Delco.

Downingtown West’s season is not over, as the Whippets will face Downingtown East in a playback game. The winner of that game locks up a state berth, while the loser will play a do-or-die game against Central Bucks West or Owen J. Roberts.

On Saturday, Unionville controlled the ball for most of the middle portion of the game, and took the opportunity to pull away from Downingtown West. The Indians closed the first half on a 5-1 run, highlighted by a pair of goals from Erin Garvey and Malone’s third tally of the day.

As the game reached halftime and the rain started to let up a bit, the Indians really kicked their offense into high gear.

Hannah Close scored two more goals for Unionville to start the second half and push the Indians lead to 12-4. A Downingtown West timeout called by led to two goals, less than a minute apart, but that would be the last of their scoring.

From there, it was all Unionville, as the Indians ripped off five more goals in the final 13 minutes of the second half to put away the Whippets and trigger a running clock once the advantage was at 10.

“We talked to our team about how big this game was,” Sheehan explained. “We knew how important this was for our seniors and our captains. These players were really focused in the second half.”

Indeed, the final score was much more lopsided than the last time these two teams met, when Unionville scraped out an 11-9 victory over the Whippets.

Malone led all players on Saturday with 4 goals and three assists. Close also finished with four goals and an assist of her own.

Garvey and Veronica Hineman each had three tallies and a pair of assists. For the Whippets, Feeney, Bednarik and Tabitha Rodriguez each had two goals on the day.

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