AUBURN — Moravia poured on the pressure right from the opening whistle.

The Blue Devils broke through with a pair of goals midway through the first half and continued to keep play on the Maroons' end of the field for long stretches, as the Moravia field hockey team topped Auburn, 5-1, at Auburn High Monday afternoon.

"I expected Moravia to come at us strong. That's how they play and they're very good at it," Maroons coach Sarah Pitcher said. "They always have a solid team and they move well as a whole. My girls were well prepared for that."

Sierra Lyon and Madison Becker each scored twice for Moravia, while Kelsey Nelson added one goal.

Blue Devils goalie Brittany Kulas finished with one save for the win.

"I thought we did a great job," Moravia coach Heather Susek said. "It was rarely down in our defensive end, so that shows a lot for our team as a whole."

Natalie McKela recorded the lone Auburn goal, while Lauren Dupre finished with 10 saves in net.

For Pitcher, Dupre's play has come a long way over the past few years.

"She has really grown into her own and I think this year is her first year that she has stepped up and direct the defense, which is huge," Pitcher said. "This is one of the strongest games I've seen from Lauren."

The Maroons weathered the storm from the Blue Devils early in the first half, but Becker's blast opened the scoring at the 16:39 mark and Nelson added to the Moravia lead 2:18 later.

Pitcher called a timeout to regroup, and the Maroons kept the Blue Devils' advantage at 2-0 heading into halftime.

Becker scored her second of the day 17:02 into the second half, and Lyon scored less than three minutes later. McKela spoiled the Blue Devils' shutout attempt with 5:53 remaining, but Lyon restored Moravia's four-goal lead with her second tally of the day in the final minute.

Both coaches like what they have seen from their teams early in the season.

The Blue Devils boast plenty of experience after many of their players were on the team that went to the Section III, Class D championship game last season. Moravia hopes to build on last year, albeit back in Section IV for the postseason.

"We're doing a really good job as a unit stepping together and putting the pressure on when we need it," Susek said. "We're finding each other on the field, and our give-and-gos are really connecting."

With only two seniors and a small team with no subs, Pitcher has a young team with many girls taking on new roles.

"We have a lot of learning to do, but we'll get there," Pitcher said. "I'm really excited for this season. I have a great bunch and just the cohesiveness on and off the field has been really huge."

Auburn (1-2) hosts Cortland Tuesday, while Moravia (3-1) plays Homer on Wednesday.

"I'm really excited and I know the girls are excited to be back on the turf," Susek said. "Hopefully we can utilize some of our speed when we get there."

Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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