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Great Valley fends off late West Chester East push to advance

EAST WHITELAND—West Chester East cut the Great Valley lead to a single goal with two minutes still on the clock, but the equalizer never came, and the No. 4 Patriots (14-5) edged No. 11 West Chester East (8-11) by a 4-3 score in the opening round of the District 1, Class AA field hockey tournament.

The Patriots’ Allex Thomas battles with Abby Decker

With the win, Great Valley will host No. 5 Phonexville, a 4-1 winner over No. 12 Upper Dublin Tuesday evening, with the winner guaranteed a slot in the state tournament.

“We like to just take things one game at a time,” said Great Valley coach Maddie Craig. “We weren’t going to look forward at all until we got this win, but we’re really excited to be moving on.”

The Patriots jumped out to the early lead with a goal from Alex Thomas, and then scored again less than two minutes later when Aidan Drabick picked up her second assist, bring the ball into the circle and sending a pass across to Tessa Liberatosconi, who slipped it in behind the East goalie for a 2-0 Patriot lead.

“Our passes were all connecting today,” said Thomas. “I’m really excited to get the win and to know we get to play another game.”

The Vikings cut the lead in half with a Juliet Trout goal at the 9:31 mark, but Great Valley answered right back, with Drabick assisting on Thomas’ second goal of the day to give Great Valley a 3-1 halftime lead. Drabick notched an unassisted goal of her own minutes into the second half to put the Patriots up 4-1.

Great Valley’s Aidan Drabick keeps the ball from Shria Vora

“We just never gave up fighting for the goal,” said Drabick. “We just kept looking out for each other and stayed unselfish. I can’t wait to keep playing with this team. Hopefully we can go far and just keep playing.”

All day, the Patriots did a great job of setting up goals on the post, and even if they didn’t score on the first attempt, it provided plenty of penalty corner opportunities, as the Patriots held a 13-4 edge in that category.

“All week long we’ve been working on the give and go passing in the circle,” said Craig. “Today those give and go passes were connecting and we were getting to the post every time. It was beautiful. The girls worked great together.”

East made a strong second half run, picking up goals from Sydney Scully and Kinzie Thompson to make it a one goal lead as time wound down.

“We were all a little worried there,” said Drabick. “It got pretty intense. But we kept focus and got the win.”

Great Valley goalie Ryan Curley makes a save.

Though the comeback bid ultimately fell short, the Vikings made quite a push to try to extend the season.

“I thought we came together and meshed down the stretch of the regular season and played some really good hockey,” said Vikings coach Vienna Forjohn. “Coming off the field at halftime, we talked about leaving everything on the field. You never want to have any regrets. They battled back hard and just came up a little short.”

For Liberty-recruit Thompson, the game marks the end of her high school field hockey career, but the memories will last a lifetime.

“We’ve gotten better every year I’ve been here,” said Thompson. “Just watching us grow and work as a team has been amazing. I think we were closer as a team than in any of my four years, and I’ll miss it.”

WC East 1 2 –3
Great Valley 3 1—4

WC East—Trout, Scully, Thompson
Great Valley—Thomas (2), Drabick, Liberatosconi

Goalie Saves: Fulton (WCE) 15, Curley (GV) 7

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