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Private All Girls School | Girls K-8 | Co-Ed Preschool | Malvern, PA

The Year of the Underdog

By: Coach Joe Botta

“Hungry Dogs run faster” – Jason Kelce 

The 2018 Villa Maria Varsity followed in the footsteps of the Super Bowl Champion Eagles this year. We were the underdogs for the first time in 3 years, and won the first GCAL Playoff Championship in 17 years. The previous 2 seasons (2016-2017) the Villa Varsity Field Hockey went undefeated in the regular season going 7-0 both years. The undefeated season lead to #1 seed in the GCAL playoffs, and 2 appearances in the Championship game at home. Both Villa teams lost, and in 2017 we lost to Gwynedd Mercy Academy 3-1 ending our 17-0 season with a loss.

2018 season started in June with some summer league games, and moved into our Summer practices on August 20th. We had a young goalie with no formal training, and a few girls trying hockey for the first time. Needless to say the 17 individual girls that made up the team would need to come together. Our season started with lots of rain, which interrupted practices and games. The team stayed focused, and started the season 4-1, and a showdown with Gwynedd Mercy Academy loomed. The girls were ready and focused, but once again GMA got the best of us beating us 3-0 on our home pitch. We met as a team after the game, and vowed to make the changes needed to make our team better. We went on a 7 game winning streak taking the record to 11-2. Villa would claim the #2 seed in the GCAL Playoffs, and a first round match up with #3 Norwood Academy. We would win this game 3-0, and move into a showdown with our new rival Gwynedd Mercy Academy. We were now in a role, which was unfamiliar, but one we talked about and relished, we were UNDERDOGS. Ten days later due to scheduling difficulties, and more rain it was game on at Gwynedd Mercy High school’s turf field. We executed our game plan perfectly, and got 100% effort from every player. Maggie K. started the scoring with a beautiful reverse shot, and then added another goal before the half. Colby G. added a goal with 6 minutes left in the game to seal the victory. We held Gwynedd’s high scoring offense to no goals. The first GCAL playoff title in 17 years, and double revenge against Gwynedd Mercy Academy was complete. Villa finished 13-2 with 54 goals for and 10 goals against.

8th graders combined varsity record for 2 years was 31-3, and were Lead by Captains Emily F., Maggie K. and Charlotte P. and 8th graders Gabrielle B., Jackie B., Lane G., Lauren F., Madigan M., Olivia W., Tori B., and Silva B.. We had great contributions from our 7th graders Brianna R., Callen T., Colby G., Meredith T., and Ruthanne L., And of course our fearless 6th grade goalie Laura A.

We couldn’t be more proud to coach a group of girls that gave maximum effort every practice, supported each other, and played hard every game. We loved coaching this group. It was one of our best TEAMS in 5 years of coaching.

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