Villa Maria scores five goals in second half in rout of Sacred Heart

MALVERN – Up by only two at the break, Villa Maria exploded for five second half goals in a 7-1 blowout victory over visiting Sacred Heart.

The late surge might have seemed a little unlikely given that the Hurricanes have played four games in the last five days, leading to a little bit of fatigue.

“It’s been tiring,’ said Villa captain Abby Siana. “We have been playing a lot, but it’s OK. We still had to come and play. We’ll have a chance to rest tomorrow. We just had to get it done today.’

While it’s easy to point to the seven goals on Villa’s side of the scoreboard, the defensive effort could just as easily get lost in the shuffle. Sacred Heart didn’t force its first corner until 8:08 remained in the game, and didn’t find the back of the cage until just over a minute to play and Lauren Palumbo notched a goal for the visitors.

“I think we got a little sloppy there towards the end,’ said Villa coach Dan Polders. “We were not very organized. We lost a little focus, and structure. But we’ve gone through all those games, and an exhausting game yesterday. We try to keep a high standard, but sometimes it’s tough when you play as often as we have.’

Thanks to the defensive effort, the Hurricanes outshot Sacred Heart to the tune of 17-3, and held an advantage in penalty corners of 14-3.

“For most of the games, we were staying spread and we were able to get the ball up to our forwards,’ said Villa back Nicole Tsiaris. “As a defensive unit, we do a pretty good job of communication and movement. It makes our job a little easier when there’s seven goals scored, but it’s not as much fun.’

Most impressive in the seven goal output was that six different players scored. Amelia Iacobucci had a pair, including the game’s first goal, while Lindsay Dickinson, Erin Zielinski, Julia Giampetro and Siana also scored for the Hurricanes, who remain unbeaten (8-0-1) on the season.

Iacobucci was also credited with four assists, with Siana and Megan Vermeil getting credit for the other two.

“We worked really well together, especially in the second half,’ said Siana. “We were doing a nice job of stretching the field together and finding each other with passes. I feel like we’re getting better every game, and that’s important, especially at this time of year.’

The Hurricanes will get a short break with two days rest, then play a formidable conference opponent in Merion Mercy Friday.

“We’ll get a little break,’ said Polders. “Then a tough one again on Friday. But we like the tough games. They are more fun. More important, playing the tough teams in tough games are the games that will get you ready for the postseason.’

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