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ANNVILLE >> On Monday, the Annville-Cleona field hockey team suffered a loss it could ill afford if it wants to realize its goals of qualifying for the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three playoffs.

But that 1-0 loss to county rival Elco, a team below it in the Section Three standings, did serve a purpose: It kept A-C focused on not allowing history to repeat itself in Wednesday's matchup with winless Pequea Valley.

The Little Dutchmen shook off any lingering effects from the Elco loss, scoring three times in the first 5:03 of the first half en route to a lopsided 6-1 victory Wednesday afternoon at Annville-Cleona High School.

Now 9-3 overall and 7-2 in Section Three, A-C needed just 1:03 to jump ahead for good, getting a Tori Malloy goal to open the scoring and subsequent back-to-back goals from Michaela Singer with 27:17 and 24:57 left in the half to all but settle the outcome extremely early on.

In addition to restoring some of A-C's battered confidence, the quick start, combined with Donegal's 11-0 rout of Lancaster Mennonite, lifted A-C at least temporarily into sole possession of second place in the section and the league playoff berth that goes with it.

So Monday's loss to Elco wasn't a good thing, but it kinda was, as evidenced by A-C's play in the first five minutes on Wednesday.

"It was huge," said A-C coach Sue Felty. "We talked about how we can't let Monday define our whole season. We had to step up today and do what we needed to do. And they knew. Those were big goals for us, definitely. We've been struggling to score, so six goals is great and three in the first five minutes is even better."

And those goals came, not surprisingly, because of A-C's offensive catalysts — Malloy, Singer, and Meredith Bachman. The trio combined for four of the six goals and three of the four assists A-C would tally on Wednesday.

"Two of those are our seniors —Meredith and Tori — and Michaela's a junior," Felty said. "And they're our captains. I said to them that we have high expectations and they need to bring things on. Having them score is nice, to get the girls going. And Michaela is such a fighter in there, she's just scrappy. She'll go for anything."

The Big Three's work did indeed rub off on the rest of the squad, including Morgan Zimmerman, who bumped A-C's lead to 4-0 with 6:57 left before intermission by finishing off a feed from Bachman.

Steph Inman then found the back of the cage 2:35 into the second half to bring the mercy rule into play, and Bachman closed out A-C's scoring with an unassisted tally with 24:54 to play to make it a 6-0 game.

Elizabeth Warner allowed Pequea (0-11, 0-8) to avert a shutout, scoring with 19:55 left.

"One thing we did better was our spacing and our passing," Felty said of A-C's offensive success. "We've been going so hard at goalies and I've been telling them that's not the way to make it happen. A bunch of those goals, there was an assist. It was coming from somebody."

In short, A-C looked to be of postseason caliber on Wednesday, and is, of course, hoping to keep it that way.

"The Elco loss could definitely come back to bite us," Felty said. "But we'll see. Every game is important and we've got to take care of business here. That would really be neat for them to (make the playoffs)."

Annville-Cleona 6, Pequea Valley 1

Pequea Valley01—1Annville-Cleona42—6

First half — AC: Tori Malloy, Michaela Singer 2, Morgan Zimmerman

Second half — PV: Elizabeth Warner, AC: Steph Inman, Meredith Bachman

Assists — AC: Katelyn Brightbill, Malloy, Bachman 2

Shots on goal — Annville-Cleona 19, Pequea Valley 2

Corners — Annville-Cleona 7, Pequea Valley 2;

Saves — PV: Kaitlin Plank (11 saves), Ann Slider (2 saves), AC: Haley Zimmerman (0 saves), Maddie Luciotti (1 save)

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