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Nov. 18, 2017 — Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) 2, Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) 1

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — There are certain moments, frozen in time, that define a player, a team, a season, a march to a championship. Such was the drive to goal made by Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) junior Hannah Miller in the 36th minute of play.

On the play, she came into the circle, spun off the tackle from Madison Woods, and spun the ball past the goalkeeper, the winning goal in the Hurricanes’ 2-1 win in the PIAA Class AA championship game over a game Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) side.

“We came in with fire in our hearts, and we had to carry though what we had to do today,” Miller said. “We just had to stay focused.”

Part of that focus was the routine that head coach Daan Polders had established.

“We did the same thing we always have during practice, warmup, and we tried to keep everything the same,” Polders said, “And it reflected in the way we played. Overall, we were prepared to play for the championship today.”

Polders, one of only two known coaches to have won state championships to win state titles in more than one state, has an embarrassment of riches going into 2018 including Miller and midfielder Adele Iacobucci, who played a quiet but solid game in keeping Wyoming Valley West from building attacks in the midfield.

The Spartans, indeed, had come off an splendid two-way effort in beating defending state champion Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) on Tuesday, but could not find the same reward in the state final.

“They were just a very talented team, and they were relentless,” said Woods, the Spartans’ talismanic leader. “But we are a skilled team as well.”

VILLA MARIA (23-1) 1 1 — 2
WYOMING VALLEY WEST (21-3) 1 0 — 1
VMA: Hannah Miller (Erin Finley), fg, 2nd minute
WVW: Karline Stelma (Foto Tsioles), pc, 29th
VMA: Miller, pc, 36th
Shots — VMA: 3; WVW: 11. Saves — VMA: Nikki Hartzel 5, Sydney Rusnock 4; WVW: Danielle Acuna 2.

FULL TIME The horn sounds with Villa Maria taking a 2-1 win

58:50 WVW YELLOW Mercedes Jasterzenski is off

58:40 West is content to take it to the corner flag

57:00 WVW PC Whistled down for an offensive foul

55:00 Villa Maria has been playing to absorb the Spartans’ pressure; how long can they afford to do this?

48:45 Timeout, WVW

47:47 WVW YELLOW A hard challenge sends Stelma off for five minutes; not what you want when you are chasing the game

37:29 VMA PC Dickinson tries to spin past Woods and she is not having any of it

35:04 VMA GOAL Miller takes it into the circle, eliminates Woods, and buries it! Villa leads 2-1

32:00 VMA PC Ball goes left to Iacobucci but her ball is raised

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Villa Maria has had territorial mastery thus far but has only managed a tie; the 29th-minute penalty corner was the only shot on goal for WVW this half

HALFTIME The horn goes off with the game tied 1-1

28:15 WVW PC and GOAL An innocuous shot is rebounded by Karline Stelma! Game tied 1-1!

26:05 VMA PC Option right again; they are going to keep running it until they get it right

25:19 VMA PC Option right; same play as about eight minutes ago, but shot is stuffed

25:00 Timeout, Villa Maria

20:00 Spartans are shooting themselves in the foot with midfield giveaways just as they are building attacks

17:57 Timeout, Wyoming Valley West

17:39 VMA PC Dickinson works it to the right but no shot ensues

16:00 VMA PC Lindsay Dickinson’s shot is saved by Nikki Hartzel

13:29 VMA PC Option-left to Adele Iacobucci, who cranks it wide and high

8:09 VMA PC A bit too long in developing, and Madison Woods with the defense

5:39 VMA PC Whistled down for a dangerous shot

1:57 VMA GOAL Hannah Miller gets the Hurricanes off to a great start; 1-0 Villa Maria

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Wyoming Valley West is in the white with maroon kilts and gold trim; Villa Maria is in the navy with light blue numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up under a cold rain; temps around 43 degrees

PREGAME For WVW head coach Linda Fithian, it’s been a while since she’s been at the state final; 14 years, to be exact. For Daan Polders and Villa Maria, it’s his third state title game with the Hurricanes after a successful stint with Denver (Colo.) Academy

PREGAME For the Hurricanes, watch for U-17 national team member Hannah Miller. WVW will counter with Madison Woods, who started her scholastic career as a scorer, but who marked out Mackenzie Allessie last time out. Bonus: she scored the game-winner against Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) with 3.3 seconds remaining

PREGAME Villa Maria, the District 1 champion, is 23-1 on the season. Wyoming Valley West is 20-2

PREGAME Back now at the Zephyr Coplay Complex for the PIAA Class AA final between Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa) against Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)


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