By Bill Rudick
@brudick55 on Twitter
MALVERN >> In what could be a championship preview of the District 1 Class AA field hockey tournament, Villa Maria put together a game that made it clear that they intend to repeat as district champs, scoring six times in the first half to cruise to a 7-0 shutout victory in the nonleague contest Saturday.
“We played really well as a team,” said Villa’s Hannah Miller. “We showed what our hard work can do and showed what Villa field hockey can do when we play as a team.”
Upper Perk (14-2) had opportunities, especially in the early going. The Indians controlled the flow of play and forced the first two penalty corners of the game. But, those chances didn’t result in any change on the scoreboard.
“Villa really has a nose for the goal, they push hard inside the circle and don’t stop until they have the goal,” said Upper Perkiomen coach Jamie Warren. “We need to develop that kind of mentality and attack inside the circle. But there’s a lot we can take from this game, and will take from this game as we move on with the season.”
The Hurricanes broke the scoring drought with a beauty of a goal just over six minutes into the game. Emily Doyle picked up a ball around midfield and outraced her defender to the circle, drawing out goalie Carly Eidle. Once inside the circle, Doyle made a perfect pass in front of Eidle, right on to the stick of Adrianna Yacovelli, who slipped the ball easily behind Eidle.
“My first thought was to pass it off to Megan (Dillon) and let her transfer it,” said Doyle. “Then I realized that our next player (Yacovelli) was wide open, so I just passed it over to her.”
The score opened the floodgates. Over the next 10 minutes, Villa received goals from Adele Iacobucci, two from Doyle, Miller, and Erin Finley. Just like that, it was 6-0 headed into the break.
“I think probably the best thing we’re doing right now is playing as a team,” said Villa coach Daan Polders. “We’re not counting on any one or two players to get it done for us. It’s always good to get a win over a quality team like Upper Perk, especially with big games in our league and the playoffs coming up.”
Villa scored just once more, when Miller notched her second goal of the day 3:30 into the second half.
“Villa is a very quick team,” said Warren. “I thought we did a nice job adjusting to the speed and stepping it up defensively in the second half. After a rough first half, we got better in the second half and kept it 1-0 the rest of the way. We’ll learn from this and be ready if we see them again down the road.”
The win was the 12th straight for the Hurricanes (12-1) since suffering an opening day loss to Downingtown West.
“It has been exciting,” said Doyle. “It’s a big positive with Districts coming up. Hopefully we’re getting ready to make another run at states.”
Villa Maria 7
Upper Perkiomen 0
Upper Perkiomen 0 0 –0
Villa Maria 6 1 –7
Villa Maria goals: Doyle 2, Miller 2, Yacovelli, Iacobucci, Finley.
Goalie Saves: Eidle (UP) 5, Acuna (VM) 4.