EAST MARLBOROUGH >> The Upper Dublin field hockey team knew exactly what it was getting itself into as it traveled to Unionville Wednesday afternoon to take on the top-seeded Indians. Unionville, however, left little doubt as to why it was No. 1 entering the District 1-AAA playoffs as it earned the 7-1 second-round win.
“They’re good,” Upper Dublin coach Heather Boyer said of Unionville. “A couple goals in the first few minutes and you know it’s going to be a tough up hill battle.”
One of the most dangerous things a favored team can do is let another team hang around and think it can pull the upset. The Indians pretty much squashed chances of an upset right off the bat, taking a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the game as Katie Anderson assisted Annie McDonough for the opening tally.
“That was my pregame talk for them I thought it was important we come out strong,” Unionville coach Erin Curtis said. “We won the coin toss, we chose possession and we wanted to come out and strike first.”
Anderson ended the game with two assists while McDonough also registered two points with a goal and an assist. Shannon Reape netted the only goal for Upper Dublin.
Unionville’s attack would be steady throughout the first half as it scored five goals in the first 22 minutes of play.
With Unionville putting the clamps down on the Cardinals they found very little space to operate in any part of the field. Upper Dublin tried to counter the Indians aggressive play but it was to limited avail.
“We don’t ever panic, we stay with in our game. When we make a mistake we continue to play,” Curtis said of her team’s tenacious play.
“They started to settle in,” Boyer said. “There was a lot of good hockey on the field that wasn’t necessarily reflected on the scoreboard. Especially in the second half. That’s all we can try to do. I give the girls credit for trying to keep making plays and try to create things in the offensive circle. It just didn’t happen the way we wanted it too. The power rankings are there for a reason.”
For the Cardinals, this season marks one of great improvement after winning just five games a year ago to winning 12 this season with a District 1 second round appearance.
“Its huge turnaround, more than I ever expected,” Boyer said. “I expected improvement but I didn’t expect this kind of success. I attribute that to the girls really buying into revamping the system and working hard to get better.”
Top Photo: Unionville’s Lauren Newbrough (18), left, picks up her ball after scoring against Upper Dublin during their District 1-AAA second round game at Unionville on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. With Newbrough is Madison Miles (22), Brooke Ladd and Katie Anderson (7). (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)