MALVERN - It may not have been the prettiest game of field hockey Villa Maria has played all year - too many trips to the circle in the first half with nothing to show for it - but bottom line is that the Hurricanes closed out their regular season with a win, topping Merion Mercy 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon in Athletic Association of Catholic Academies action thanks to a pair of second-half goals from Megan Parsons.
"We had good ideas in the first half, we just weren't finishing,' said Parsons. "We talked at halftime and came out determined to get refocused, and get a goal.'
The Hurricanes forced seven corners in the first 30 minutes, including one eight-minute stretch where Villa Maria was awarded six corners. But they couldn't convert, and only got off four shots in the half.
"Merion did a nice job on defense,' said Villa Maria coach Janet Coady. "The did a great job of getting back and packed in front of the cage, and we couldn't get through.'
When the Hurricanes finally did put one on the board with just under 22 minutes to play, it was just about a picture-perfect goal. Amelia Iacobucci brought the ball inside the circle along the right side, with Parsons virtually mirroring the motion on the other side. Iacobucci put a perfect pass on the stick of Parsons, who easily flicked it in for the score.
"Communication was the key to that goal,' said Iacobucci. "Megan let me know she was open, and I just got her the ball. Communication was a huge part of why we had a better second half.'
According to Coady, it was a simple matter of being in position to make the plays.
"Megan can see how a play is going to develop,' said Coady. "And she turned the way she should and was right in the spot she needed to be. But that goal doesn't happen if Amelia doesn't make that perfect pass.'
Villa Maria tacked on one more goal late. Alexa Ostoich brought the ball up to the circle, and fired a ball into the crowd in front of the cage. Parsons picked it up, and banged it off the back of the cage for her second score of the game.
"This was an important win over a good opponent,' said Parsons. "It was important for us to come back with a strong second half and get the win to power us into the postseason. Even early, there was a lot of positive energy out there, and we fed off one another.'
"There's a domino effect with us,' said Iacobucci. "Once one of us does something good, the next girl picks it up and does something herself. It's a good motivator for us.'
On the other side of the field, the Hurricanes stepped it up in the second half as well, allowing just a single shot on goal that was saved easily by Erika Miller.
"I was really pleased with our defensive effort,' said Coady. "We did a much better job of stepping up on balls, something we weren't getting done against Gwynnedd Mercy.'
Now the Hurricanes will await the result of Thrusday's seeding meeting as they begin their march for a seventh straight district title.
"This was a huge win for us,' said Coady. "It was very important for us to step it up and finish strong the way we did.'
Villa Maria 2, Merion Mercy 0
Merion Mercy 0 0 -- 0
Villa Maria 0 2 -- 2
Villa Maria goals: Parsons 2.
Goalie saves: Thomas (MM) 14; Miller (VM) 7.