Unionville knocked off in District quarterfinals

West Goshen — Sixth-seeded Unionville was left with the task of fighting No. 3 Harriton without two of its senior captains and point leaders in the quarterfinals of the District 1 playoffs Saturday. On a humid morning at Harold I. Zimmerman Stadium at West Chester East High School, the Indians came up just short, falling to the Rams, 14-11.

The loss drops Unionville into the consolation pool, where they will host seventh-seeded Garnet Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Harriton clinched a berth in the PIAA playoffs and will play Radnor in the semifinals on Tuesday at Haverford High School.

The Indians (16-4) knew before the game they would be without Katie Garvey, out for the playoffs after sustaining an arm injury in their second-round victory against Merion Mercy. They weren’t expecting to be without Quinn Benintende.

The senior exited the game early in the second half with a hamstring injury and did not return. That left Unionville rallying to compensate for the loss of over 90 goals in the lineup.

“We had two captains out,’ Indians coach Lisa Aikman said. “They are our two high scorers, but I thought the girls stepped it up. We have some depth on our bench and I thought they did a nice job. We just have to keep going and hopefully Quinn will be back on Tuesday.’

Aikman’s squad found themselves in a hole early, the Rams (18-3) jumped out to a 4-0 lead nine minutes into the contest.

“They capitalized on all of our little mistakes,’ senior Emma Walter said. “We would do something wrong and they would take advantage of it and shove it right back in our faces.’

Unionville answered with a 4-0 run in 90 seconds to tie the game. Molly Wentz got it started when she took the ball the length of the field and fired a shot by goalie Devin McClain.

Thirty seconds later, Cassie Blair fed freshman Erin Garvey, who directed a shot past an outstretched McClain.

On the next draw, Walter scored the first of a team-high four goals to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Blair tied the game shortly thereafter when she converted on a feed from Wentz.

“We did a really good job working together,’ Walter said. Someone would recognize the double was coming so we would dump off the ball. It was more about assisting then scoring. We just tried to find the open person and score.’

Harriton’s next streak was the knockout punch. Six unanswered goals put the separation they needed to earn the postseason victory.

“I think they were really good at seeing people open in the middle and feeding it to them. They had a really strong attack,’ Blair said.

Trailing, 9-4 at halftime, Unionville outscored Harriton, 7-5 in the second half. However, they never were able to make it any closer than a three-goal deficit.

“Our defense changed in the second half,’ Wentz said. “We picked up on the things we were doing wrong and fixed them. The communication was a lot better.’

The Indians will live to fight another day. They are in a four-team pool that will grant one program a ticket to states. If they can reverse an earlier lost to Garnet Valley, the winner of Springfield (Delco)-Souderton will await Thursday.

“It’s not over,’ Wentz said. “Yeah, today was a tough game for us, but we can use it as motivation to play even harder on Tuesday.’

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