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Iacobucci, Dunn lead big second half for Villa Maria in win over Downingtown West

MALVERN >> For the first time all season, Villa Maria was thrown a curveball it had trouble adjusting to right away.
Downingtown West decided to face-guard top striker Audrey Fantazzia in the first half in an attempt to silence the Villa offense. The game plan worked for the first 22 minutes.


“We never had to deal with that before, so we weren’t sure what to do,” said Amelia Iacobucci. “It took a while to get into a rhythm and become aware the player on Audrey wasn’t going to slide. Once we figured that out, we needed to use her to set screens and get open for our shots.”
Iacobucci’s strategy worked as she scored the go-ahead goal late in the first half that set the tone for a dominant second half by Villa Maria in an 11-6 nonleague victory over Downingtown West Monday afternoon.

The Hurricanes (7-5) outscored West 9-3 in the final 26:48 of the game to come away with the win. Lauren Dunn scored four of her game-high five goals during the stretch.
With Fantazzia face-guarded, Dunn was the recipient of multiple open passes in front of the net. She capitalized on the golden opportunity with her best game of the year.
“We just were able to take care of the ball better and had better passes which led to the open shots,” Dunn said. “Coming out of a timeout in the first half, we realized we couldn’t be sloppy with the ball. From that point, we only passed to an open player and took a shot if we were open. It was all about control.”
Iacobucci’s first goal of the game started the Villa rally as it gave the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead heading into halftime. On the play, Iacobucci used a quick move to her left to get by West defender Heather Camden and score with 34.5 seconds left in the half.
“That was really big there,” said Villa head coach Kiera Huntsman. “Annina always comes up strong and gets those goals we need to pick up our team. From that point we were able to take care of the ball and control the game.”
Iaccobucci and Dunn each scored in a 37-second span to give Villa a 6-3 lead with 22:27 to play, The Whippets stayed in the game as Corinne Bednarik took a pass from Drew McKinney and fired it for the goal to cut West’s deficit to 6-4 with 17:32 left.
From that point, West only maintained possession for about a two-minute stretch in the next 12 minutes. Villa used the advantage to pull away.
Bri Bamber and Lucy Meehan scored in a 35-second span to give Villa a commanding 8-4 lead with 12:08 left. Dunn sealed the victory with her fourth goal of the day as Villa led 9-4 with 9:28 remaining.
The Whippets (3-10) controlled the majority of the first half as they held a 3-2 lead with two minutes left in the opening period. Bednarik finished with two goals and two assists and Peyton Mottice had two goals.

Villa notched another key nonleague victory in its quest at a district playoff berth. The Hurricanes currently sit 20th in the District 1 power rankings and are looking for a first round home game with a few more wins in the final two weeks of the regular season.
“We’re really excited for what’s to come,” Iacobucci said. “This has been one of our best seasons so far. Playing these teams helps us prepare for districts and the type of opponent we’ll face. It’s a lot of fun.”

Villa Maria 11, Downingtown West 6
Downingtown West    3    3 – 6
Villa Maria    4    7 – 11
Downingtown West goals: Bednarik 2, Mottice 2, McKinney, Rodriguez.
Villa Maria goals: Dunn 5, Iacobucci 2, Bamber 2, Fantazzia, Meehan.
Goalie saves: Miller (DW) 5, Wilson (VM) 6.

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