MALVERN — None of the current Villa Maria field hockey players has ever gone through a season that didn't include raising the District 1 Class AA championship trophy above their heads
Judging by Villa's performance in its District opener Thursday afternoon against Christopher Dock, plans for a seventh straight title are going somoothly.
The Hurricanes came charging hard out of the gate and never let up. A pair of Hurricanes, Abby Siana and Megan Parsons, notched hat tricks in Villa's 8-0 rout over the Pioneers.
The third-seeded Hurricanes advanced to the semifinals on Tuesday against No. 2 Upper Perkiomen.
"These girls really want the district championship,' said Villa coach Janet Coady. They came out really hard, especially in the second half, and never let up.'
After setting up its third penalty corner in the first four minutes of play, Siana put the ball in play on the insert, sending it in to Alexa Ostoich. She sent the ball cageward, where Ameila Iacobucci was waiting, taking the pass and slapping it past Dock goalie Eliza Wilkins for the goal.
"I'm sure pretty much every coach does, but I put a high priority on getting that first goal,' said Coady. "It really goes a long way towards setting the tone for the game. Amelia is a true leader, and grabbed that ball and got us the goal.'
Villa got one more goal in the first half. With just over 17 minutes to play in the half, Parsons unleashed a shot that Siana tipped in for the score.
"It's very important to get on the board early, and that's just what we did,' said Siana. "We were communicating well and keeping pressure on in the circle.'
Over on the other side of the field, goalie Erika Miller was barely tested until a late push in each half by the Pioneers. Miller recorded eight saves in notching her 14th shutout of the season.
"One of the traits you have to have as a goalie is mental strength to keep your head in the game when there's not a whole lot of action,' said Miller. "But if you aren't getting a lot of work, it means your team is doing well. Getting this first win is a big relief. There's always pressure in a playoff game. You can't afford to take anyone lightly or you might be going home.'
The Hurricanes poured it on in the second half, exploding for six goals in the final 30 minutes of play. Siana picked up the first two of the half to complete her hat trick, while Parsons had three of the final four scores, with Ostoich finding the back of the cage for the other.
After weathering some early season bumps in the road, Villa is playing some of its best hockey of the year right now.
"We've really grown a lot over the course of the season,' said Siana. "We've worked really hard in practice and that is starting to pay off for us in games. We feel really good about the way we've been playing.'
Of Miller's eight saves, three came in the the final six minutes as Coady tried to get some playing time for her bench.
"The defense did a really nice job stepping up on balls and keeping us on the attack,' said Coady. "I was a little upset with our first half, but we discussed it at halftime, made our adjustments, and did a better job of putting passes on our sticks.'
Villa Maria 8
Christopher Dock 0
Christopher Dock 0 0 —0
Villa Maria 2 6 --8
Villa Maria goals: Siana 3, Parsons 3, Iacobucci, Ostoich.
Goalie Saves: Wilkins (CD) 16; Miller (VM) 8.