Great Valley rolls past Henderson

EAST WHITELAND — Great Valley scored the game’s first seven goals to help them manhandle West Chester Henderson 18-4 in Ches-Mont League play on Thursday evening.

In front of their home fans, the Patriots (7-0, 11-1) controlled the game from the opening draw.

“We came out from the first whistle and controlled the game,’ Great Valley’s coach Kim Wenger said. “I am really proud of them tonight.’

Two minutes into the contest, Kristen Knaff gave the Patriots the 1-0 lead when she scored her first of five goals. The junior curled around the right side and fired a shot high-left that beat Warriors’ goalie Juliana Cantor.

“It comes with practice,’ Knaff said. “I felt like when we had possession of the ball we were able to make the right passes and transition well.’

Ninety seconds later, Olivia Muscella made it 2-0 when she scored off of a beautiful centering feed from Ashlyn Smith. Muscella finished with a game-high six goals.

“We knew we had to come out and play hard, especially the first 10 minutes,’ Muscella said. “We made smart plays. We drove when we needed to and we pulled the ball out when we had to.’

The Warriors (3-4, 5-6) had few answers for Great Valley’s defense. One of the key reasons why it was so effective was because of their communication.

“I think communication was really helpful tonight. Mia (Tornetta) especially did a great job talking to our defense,’ Knaff said.

Goalie Mia Tornetta was an integral part of their success. On top of quarterbacking the defense, she finished with 11 saves.

“Me and the defense have a great connection,’ Tornetta said with a big smile. “It can get tough focusing on the ball and the defense at the same time but we do a really good job working on those things at practice.’

At halftime, the home team held a commanding 10-2 lead.

The final period was more of the same. The Patriots scored the first six goals and challenged every Henderson player when they possessed the ball.

After Great Valley dropped their first game of the season to Conestoga last Saturday, they have won three straight games this week.

“We had tough loss this past weekend,’ Wenger said. “We have been working on the things we did not do so well. We take it one step at a time and try to get better.’

They will have a very difficult test Saturday when they go on the road to play Radnor (10-1) in nonleague action.

For the Warriors it is their third straight loss. With the District 1 playoffs coming in three weeks, they need to turn things around fast to qualify for the postseason.

“We need to focus on our game,’ Henderson’s coach Steph Kienle said. “We can’t focus on anyone else. We waited too long to get into this game. I thought our defense played well tonight. That’s a really good team we played against. Tonight didn’t go our way, we need to pick ourselves up because there is a lot of season left.’

The road does not get any easier. Their next three games are against teams with winning records. Next up they travel to nonleague Friends Central (8-3) on Saturday.

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