Villa Maria routs Delco Christian in district opener

THORNDALE — Thanks to the recent inclement weather, Thursday’s District 1 Class AA quarterfinal field hockey game between top-seeded Villa Maria and No. 8 Delco Christian was moved from Villa Maria’s home grass field to the turf at the United Sports Training Center (USTC) in Thorndale.

Despite the frigid temps and gusty winds, the Hurricanes offense was on fire from the get-go, notching five first half goals en route to a 9-0 shutout.

“We love playing on turf,’ said Abby Siana, who found the back of the cage four times in the victory. “It’s much easier to get a passing game going on turf.’

After pushing the action and forcing six penalty corners in the first 10 minutes, the Hurricanes finally converted. Lindsay Dickinson put the ball in play on the insert, sending it to the stick of Alexa Ostoich at the top of the circle. Siana maneuvered towards the cage, where Ostoich delivered a ball that Siana slammed off the back of the cage for the opening score.

With that, the floodgates opened.

Siana scored again not two minutes later, with an assist from Amelia Iacobucci. Then Iacobucci found Julia Giampetro on the post for Villa’s third goal of the afternoon. Next it was Iacobucci’s turn on the post, scoring with an assist to Siana.

Then with just 38 seconds left in the half, Mary Cate Butler hit a rocket from the top of the circle on a penalty corner to make it 5-0 at the break.

“We saw early on how they were setting up on corners,’ said Butler. “They started coming out in a 1-3, but switched up and left some spots open in the center. We just took advantage. We did everything as a team.’

“We tried to change up formations and work on a few different things,’ said Villa coach Dan Polders. “The last 16 games we were just training for this time of the year. It was good to get the first win under our belt.’

Siana struck again early in the second half, on a beautifully played goal. Iacobucci set up at the top of the circle, and unleashed a bullet towards the cage. Siana, stationed on the goalie’s pads, just barely nicked the ball in flight, deflecting it just above the goalie’s glove hand and into the back of goal.

“We were communicating really well today,’ said Siana. “We found each other and passed well. It’s always good to win a district game. I’m really proud of the way we played as a team.’

Villa rounded out the scoring with another goal from Siana, plus second goals from Butler and Giampetro.

Meanwhile, the defense barely needed to open its eyes, as the Knights rarely got past midfield, an made even fewer trips to the circle. n the end, Villa outshot the Knights 14-3, while holding an 18-1 advantage in penalty corners.

“That’s part of why I called a time out,’ said Polders. “When you aren’t seeing a lot of action, it’s easy to lose focus, and at this time of year you have to keep that intensity.’

Up next for the Hurricanes is a semi-final showdown with No. 5 Merion Mercy, a 2-1 winner over No. 4 Christopher Dock.

“We tried to change up formations and work on a few different things,’ said Polders. “hese are the games that really matter, now. We’re looking forward to the next round.’

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