Tredyffrin – No. 2 seed Conestoga, hosting 15th seed Downingtown East in the PIAA District One 3A field hockey tournament opener Wednesday, had faced the Cougars earlier this season, winning 4-3, so the Pioneers weren’t counting on an easy first-round game.
“We had this game on our minds ever since the end of the regular season,” said Conestoga senior co-captain Stephanie Hamilton. “We scouted their [district opener] Monday, and saw them come back from an 0-2 halftime deficit to win 6-2.”
Wednesday evening, the well-prepared Pioneers defeated Downingtown East, 11-1, at Teamer Field. Conestoga (18-1) took a 4-0 halftime lead, then spent the second half lengthening its lead against D-town East (10-9-1).
“At halftime, we told each other that we played hard for 30 minutes, and that we can’t let up in the last 30,” said Hamilton. “We kept our momentum going in the second half.”
With the victory, the Pioneers advance to play No. 7 seed Plymouth Whitemarsh Friday. P-W defeated No. 23 seed Central Bucks South, 3-2, Wednesday.
Conestoga’s Charlotte de Vries scored the first two goals against D-town East, at 28:58 and 20:18 of the first half, and finished with three goals for the game. Kiley Allen and Mererith Ross each chipped in with two goals. Emma McGillis, Grace McEvoy, Carly Ackerman and Kendall McGee also scored, while assists came from Kiley Allen, Charlotte de Vries and Hope Skelly.
“Our entire team contributed significantly tonight,” said Conestoga head coach Megan Smyth. “Tonight was a great example of us playing well from end line to end line. Our passing was really good, and we were attacking in layers. We really focused on corners this week in practice.”
Downingtown East kept the score close early, and the Pioneers’ lead remained only 2-0 until 4:55 before halftime, when McEvoy scored on assist from de Vries, then less than a minute later Ross scored to give Conestoga its 4-0 halftime lead.
Downingtown East head coach Julie Martelli said, “[Conestoga] had great corners tonight and dominated on the reverse. … I’m proud of my team’s effort, the girls dedicated themselves to improving thoughout the season, our team had plenty of fight [in it]. Our seniors really paved the way by example this season – they will be missed.”
Coming out after halftime, Conestoga built a 7-0 lead within the first seven minutes of the second half, with Allen scoring at 28:40, then assisting on a McGillis goal at 26:04, then scoring her second goal of the night at 22:53.
Hamilton said, “We really worked the right side of the field well tonight. Our passing and connecting clicked.”
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