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HAMBURG >> Evidence of nerves in a win or go home scenario were indisputable for Annville-Cleona's players over the first 10 minutes of action Saturday afternoon. But after a few stable minutes of play, there was no skepticism on which team held the upper hand in this preliminary District Three field hockey matchup.

The Little Dutchmen defeated Tulpehocken 3-0 Saturday in Hamburg, scoring two goals over the span of 1:35 in the opening half along with an insurance marker in the second half.

Junior forward Michaela Singer scored two goals for Annville-Cleona to extend its lead following Katelyn Brightbill's opening tally on a penalty shot, which she converted 19:47 into the contest. Brightbill also assisted on Singer's second goal of the match, coming 4:12 into the second half.

"Katelyn typically doesn't score, but she's usually the one feeding everyone the ball," Annville-Cleona head coach Sue Felty said. "As you can, she does a good job distributing the ball well. Michaela has been our top scorer this season and she has a great stick. She can just get her stick on the ball and she's super impressive, that proved today."

Annville-Cleona goalkeeper Haley Zimmerman wasn't tested much, but she made some big stops when called upon. Zimmerman earned the shutout in net for the Little Dutchmen, recording two saves.

"I think she's finally gotten a little more confidence, which is what she needed," Felty said. "We're still trying to fire her up and get her aggressive. I think some of that's starting to come, we're still working on it. She's going to probably see a lot of shots next game, so we've got to get her ready for that."

A-C dominated possession after an initial rush by the Trojans in the first 10 minutes of play. The Little Dutchmen totaled 10 shots on goal to Tulpehocken's two, along with earning nine corners in the game, six of which came in the first half.

"We were a little slow to start," Felty said. "It look us a little bit of time to kick it into gear, it can be frustrating at times."

Leading up to its first goal by Brightbill, A-C earned three corners over the span of one minute, leading to the penalty shot opportunity. Brightbill's goal followed a scoring chance that was stopped by a Tulpehocken defender who used her foot to stop the ball from crossing the goal line.

"It's such a game of momentum," Felty explained of the events leading up to Brightbill's opening goal. "You get a couple of things going your way, 'you think you can' and your feet start moving the way they're supposed to. I think it all goes together that way."

With their preliminary win, A-C faces Donegal Wednesday, the number two seed in the District Three AA tournament.

"They're just a top-notch team, and we know what we're getting into," Felty stated. "It's just a matter of doing what we need to do, we have to bring our best game. I don't see us changing a whole lot in the next two days. We'll see what we can do."

Annville-Cleona 3, Tulpehocken 0

Annville-Cleona21—3

Ephrata00—0

First half — A-C: Katelyn Brightbill, Michaela Singer

Second half — A-C: Michaela Singer

Assists — A-C: Katelyn Brightbill

Shots on goal — A-C: 10, T: 2

Corners — A-C: 6, T: 4

Saves — A-C: Haley Zimmerman (2), E: Lydia Bednarczyk (7)

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