Unionville primed for deep playoff run

EAST MARLBOROUGH – The current group of seniors at Unionville don’t know what it’s like to fall short of a Ches-Mont American title, as they have been at the top of the division heap all four years suiting up for the Indians.

Though success on the field hockey turf is nothing particularly new for these Indians, this might just be the best Unionville them they’ve played on, posting an 18-1 record, including a 13-1 mark in Ches-Mont play. The Indians’ only loss on the season came at the hands of National Division champ Downingtown West way back on September 4th.

Since falling 1-0 to the Whippets, Unionville has reeled off 17 consecutive wins and earned the No. 1 seed in the District 1 Class AAA playoffs, which begin today

“The Downingtown West game early on in our season has definitely been motivation for us throughout this whole season,’ said senior Catie Ward. “It was a reminder that we need to show up to every game ready to start out with a bang.’

Very often, the only bang being heard was the ball rattling off the back of the opponents’ cage, as very few goals came against the Indians. In those 17 straight wins, Unionville allowed just 10 goals, while scoring a whopping 85.

“Coach (Beth) Lynch does a really nice job of playing each girl to her strengths,’ said Ward. “We have been able to adjust to so many different styles of play by emphasizing our small passing game at times and our long passing game at others. I am very proud of how our team has kept its cool in games when we have had to battle back from a deficit and when the other teams started to get overly aggressive.’

Freshman Erin Matson is the team leader in scoring with 29 goals and 26 assists. Her 29 goals also led the Ches-Mont. Seniors Izzy McDonough and Logan Perkins notched 14 and 10 goals respectively, while freshman Claire Donvan has eight goals.

Ward has anchored the stingy defense, and gets credit for one defensive save and three assists, while the goalie tag team of Sarah O’Neill and Lexie Lerman had 33 and 24 saves respectively.

“To win the American Division is certainly an honor,’ said Lynch. “It feels good to come by it honestly this season. Last year we more or less fell into it by chance because of game outcomes of other teams. I am proud of this group of girls. They know how to balance hard work, maintain humility, and most importantly they have fun playing the game and being together.’

Unionville, despite the loss to Downingtown West, earned the top seed in the district tournament thanks to the strength of its schedule. The Indians have wins over ten different teams that made the Class AAA tourney, including five teams seeded in the top-10.

“While our number one seed may put us in a good position in playoffs giving us a bye right off the bat, we know each game is going to be a battle,’ said Ward. “I do really hope that our successes will continue and bring us into the state tournament. However, we need to focus on one game at a time. I still get the same nerves for each game as I did at the start of the season, but I think our success has given me the confidence that I will be able to control those nerves.’

The Indians playoff run won’t get going until Wednesday, when they play host to the winner of a first-round matchup of No. 16 Neshaminy, who Unionville beat 3-0 a couple weeks ago, and No. 17 Plymouth-Whitemarsh.

“While we have tried not to get too caught up in seeding throughout the season, it has certainly been a great motivator for us,’ said Lynch. “A lot of our games late in the season were with Top-10 District 1 teams, so it helped emphasize the importance of each game we played. We set high goals for ourselves at the beginning of the season. So far, we are keeping the course.’


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