The Dover girls' soccer team received a surprise before Tuesday night's game against Northeastern.
Junior Maddie Hill, battling leukemia after playing last season, was waiting for her former teammates as they walked onto the field for their District 3-AAA Tournament first-round game. Hill has become a rallying point for the Eagles, who wore T-shirts that read "Play for Hill" on the back.
"I started crying," senior Maxine Herman said. "We're happy to see her. It's a miracle to see her happy."
The No. 5 Eagles then beat the No. 12 Bobcats, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinal round for the first time in program history. Maddy Miller and Herman scored twice apiece, and Miller and Brooke Firestone each added two assists.
Dover's victory was its fourth in four games this season against Northeastern (14-5).
"It's remarkable," Eagles coach Bret Altimore said. "Northeastern is a phenomenal team. Beating them four times is really impressive for the girls. Keeping your mind in the game, staying motivated, especially with a team you think you should beat, sometimes that doesn't always happen."
Miller scored the first goal just 6 minutes, 38 seconds into the game on a shot from about 20 yards out. Herman followed with two goals over the next 17 minutes for a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Firestone scored with 33:22 left in the second half, and Paige Hartman added a goal less than six minutes later. Miller's second goal of the game gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead with 17:30 left.
Logan Nieman scored Northeastern's lone goal, which came on an assist by Sawyer Patrick.
Dover's scoring outburst comes after netting just two goals in last Thursday's York-Adams League Tournament championship game against the Bobcats. Northeastern had made changes to its defense after being outscored 10-2 in two regular-season meetings.
"We definitely took their changes," Herman said. "We knew how to beat their changes that they had on Thursday. At practice, we worked around that. We changed our lineup, our formation."
Added Altimore: "A lot of times, the score ... doesn't tell you what happened. If you look at these games, all four of them, statistically they're all the same except goals. Finishing today was fantastic."
The Eagles face No. 4 seed Hershey at 3 p.m. Saturday at Cedar Crest in a quarterfinal contest. Hershey (17-2-0) beat No. 20 Ephrata (11-9-0) on Tuesday, 5-0.
They hope to have Hill in attendance again, but her treatment begins soon. She'll check into a hospital on Nov. 4 for an intensive eight-day chemotherapy regimen. After a day of rest, her parents said, she'll receive bone marrow from her younger brother, Travis, who is a freshman on the Eagles' soccer team. But Hill hopes to continue supporting her team.
"Max and all the other girls are like sisters to me," she said, emotion coming through in her voice. "They're like family. I don't know what I'd do without them. I wouldn't want to be any other place."
OTHER GIRLS' SOCCER
CENTRAL YORK 3, GOV. MIFFLIN 1: At Shillington, the Panthers scored three goals on just six shots in a District 3-AAA first-round victory. Kelly Williams scored all three Central goals, with two assists from Bri Hackos and one from C.J. Dickison. Hannah Shade made 10 saves in goal to get the win. No. 8 seed Gov. Mifflin outshot No. 9 seed Central, 13-6. Central improved to 16-4-1, while Gov. Mifflin finished at 15-6. Central will now take on No. 1 seed Cumberland Valley (19-0-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Cumberland Valley beat No. 17 seed Cedar Crest on Tuesday, 1-0.
-- Reach Daniel Paulling at firstname.lastname@example.org.