By BILL RUDICK
COATESVILLE — The Great Valley field hockey team came into Wednesday evening's game against Coatesville with a shot at clinching the Ches-Mont League American Division title. For that to come to fruition, they needed two things to happen — a win against the Red Raiders and a little help from West Chester East versus Unionville, which started the day with a half-game lead over the Patriots.
Great Valley (7-5) took care of its own business, racking up four second-half goals to defeat Coatesville (1-12), 5-0, but the Indians kept themselves in the race by edging the Vikings, 1-0. Now, the Patriots, who hold the tie-breaker after beating Unionville, will need to knock off those same Vikings at home this afternoon.
"The first goal we had coming into the season was to sweep our division games,' said Patriots coach Joe Tornetta. "We did that, but the way our league is set up playing every team once, the out of division games count just as muc, and we had some hard-luck losses playing the other side. This is a young, hardworking team, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished so far. Now we've just got to get it done tomorrow (Thursday).'
Though the final score might have been a bit lopsided, the Red Raiders played Great Valley tough for the first half. Despite much of the action coming on the Great Valley's offensive side of the field — the Patriots had 14 penalty corners in the first half, they only managed one goal from Grace Terracciano, with an assist to Megan D'Ginto.
"I think we might have been caught taking them a little lightly,' said the Patriots' Mia Tornetta. "I think we were too loose and not playing as a team. In the second half, we pulled it together, and really started playing as a team, finding each other, and getting ourselves in position to help one another.'
The elder Tornetta agreed.
"It was out play in the circle,' said coach Tornetta. "Everyone wanted to score, and abandoned their roles. As the game went on, we put ourselves in better position to get and handle deflections. (Coatesville goalie) Buddy Ross was doing a great job in the cage. We had to get him off balance. If we let him just stand in strong, he wasn't going to let anything through.'
Ross, despite the final tally, was terrific in the goal for Coatesville, stopping a whopping 35 shots. The junior goalie notched 20 saves just in the second half.
"That is a kid that just wants to play,' said Coatesville coach Kristin DelGrippo. "He works really hard and just loves to play. He'll clear balls he doesn't need to sometimes, just to get the work in. It's great that I'll have him back for another year.'
Great Valley did pick up the pace in the second half, posting four goals, including a pair from Tornetta, who also tallied an assist on a goal from Olivia Muscella.
Now the Patriots will have to try to repeat the effort against a tough West Chester East defensive unit.
"We're pumped,' said Mia Tornetta. "We're all excited to get to play in tough games, and we're all looking forward to tomorrow and beyond.'
Great Valley 5, Coatesville 0
Great Valley 1 4--5
Coatesville 0 0—0Great Valley goals: Tornetta 2, Terracciano, Muscella, D'Ginto.
Goalie saves: Ross (C) 35; Sharp (GV) 0.