WEST GOSHEN — Great Valley’s Makenzie Hilditch scored a goal midway through the second half to put the Patriots (7-2) up a goal, then held off a furious push by West Chester East (3-6) to come away with a 3-2 victory on a rainy early evening on the Vikings’ home turf.
“Every time they scored against us it just seemed to make us want it that much more,” said Patriots coach Maddie Craig. “I think after we got up in the first half, we might have gotten a little too comfortable, but we re-grouped and kept pushing and got the win.”
In the early going, it was all West Chester East. The Vikings dominated possessions for much of the first 10 minutes of the first half, keeping the ball on its offensive half of the field, and held the early lead. Just short of eight minutes in, Kinzie Thompson took a pass from Katherine Palmer and slammed home a shot for a 1-0 West Chester East lead.
The Patriots wasted no time in responding, forcing a penalty corner barely two minutes later. Gillian Iacobucci put the ball in play on the insert, sending it in to Hilditch at the top of the circle, who unleashed a bullet into the back of the cage to tie the game at 1-1.
“West Chester East has always been a rival” said Hildtich. “The past two years we played them in districts in a game that put the winner in states. We knew they we be good. We started a little slow, so getting that first goal in kind of swung the momentum our way and got us going.”
Great Valley struck again just before the break, when Iacobucci picked up a ball in a crowd and slipped it through the goalie’s legs for the go-ahead goal, making it 2-1 Patriots at halftime.
A newly motivated Vikings came out more aggressively in the second half, and started to work some breakaways, and midway through the half, tied the game at two apiece when Sydney Scully found herself one-on-one with Patriot goalie Ryan Curley and tapped it past for the equalizer.
“We came out strong, and scored first, and then the momentum kind of ping-ponged back and forth,” said Vikings’ coach Vienna Forjohn. “Sophia Mangasarian had an awesome defensive save for us, and Kinzie Thompson had some great breakaways. We just need to work on maintaining our intensity and we’re confident we can come back and win games.”
As if on cue, Great Valley reacted to the East score by picking up the pace and working the ball back inside the circle and forced a within two minutes of the Vikings’ score. Hilditch got the ball, moved towards the cage, then lifted a shot over the drawn out goalie, and the Patriots were now up 3-2 with ten minutes to play.
“Coach Maddie always says to just play out the corners hard and whatever happens, just make sure you get a goal in,” said Hilditch. “I thought we executed well on all our corners today.”
The Vikings made a big push over the final ten minutes, getting a few breakaways, and forcing several corners, but the Patriot defense, led by Curley in the cage, simply would not allow another score.
“We knew that they have a lot of really fast forwards, so our first objective was to break things down in the midfield and limit the breakaways,” said Curley. “Our defense was just as fast, and did a great job of controlling the midfield. It’s always a tough game when we play them, so it feels great to get the win.”
Great Valley 2 1 –3
WC East 1 1 –2
Great Valley—Hilditch (2), Iacobucci
WC East—Thompson, Scully
Goalie Saves: Curley (GV) 4, Fulton (7)
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