The Eastern Brown girls soccer team surrendered six goals in their season-opening loss to Hillsboro last Saturday, but the team’s defense looked much better in game two.
Behind solid goalkeeping from senior Molly Prine, the team blanked Fayetteville 6-0 in both teams’ Southern Hills Athletic Conference opener.
The Lady Warriors jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first half behind a hat trick off the foot of Kayla Tomlin. Tomlin would add another goal in the second half, giving her four for the contest. Eastern’s other two goals came courtesy of Cassidy Staggs, one of which came off an Eastern free kick in front of the goal.
Fayetteville head coach Mark Ward said his team needed to do a better job finding Eastern’s shot takers and preventing them from taking shots.
“We needed to mark up on [Tomlin] better,” Ward said. “She had 4 of their 6 goals. [Staggs] had the other 2. You’ve got to recognize the players that are taking the shots and mark them up and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Ward also noted his team needed to take better advantage of their opportunites on offense but the team that took the field on Wednesday night was not the team he expected.
“I felt good after we played Friday night when we played Ripley,” Ward said. “If you’d have told me that this game would’ve unfolded this way I wouldn’t have expected this at all. We just didn’t come out tonight and play our game. We had girls that just weren’t into it. We’re a much better team than what they showed tonight.”
The Eastern Brown girls team may have struggled defensively against Hillsboro, but head coach Amanda Hauck said they worked hard during practice and it paid off against the Lady Rockets.
“All week at practice we’ve been working on things that we really struggled with, like first touches and taking the ball to the goal,” Hauck said. “All week since that game on Saturday we’ve worked on stuff. We came out here and there was triangle passing going on, we had communication, we were looking upfield and seeing what we had. We had more confidence we came out and played with more confidence.”
Things got a lot chippier on the pitch when the Eastern boys squared off against Fayetteville in a contest that ended in a 4-3 win for the Warriors.
Both teams had chances to score early. Fayetteville had a pair of shots saved in the 32nd minute and three minutes later a beautiful cross was wasted when the ball was kicked over the net. Eastern, meanwhile, had a chance in the 27th minute to open the scoring but Noah Craig’s shot hit off the crossbar.
Eastern finally broke through two minutes later. A cross into the box drew out the Fayetteville goaltender and Brady Klein was able to put the ball in the net to give Eastern a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute. Shortly after that, Noah Craig tallied another goal for the Warriors, flicking a strong shot over the leaping goaltender and into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
Fayetteville broke through with less than five minutes left in the half thanks to a goal from Max Iles, but Luke Woolard tallied a goal for the Warriors to push the lead back to two goals. Eastern led 3-1 at halftime.
Klein struck again eight minutes into the second half to give the Warriors a 4-1 lead, but Fayetteville began to rally. In the 22nd minute, the Rockets hit the crossbar with a shot but recovered the ball in time to take another try at the goal. Eastern senior goaltender Mickey Hundley made a diving save of the ball, one of his 20 saves in the match.
Hundley would leave the game briefly a few minutes later due to injury. Shortly after he returned, the Rockets struck for another goal. Iles put the ball past Hundley and into the bottom right corner of the net. He and two other teammates then went to retrieve the ball, taking it from the Eastern goaltender and sending the Warriors fans into a fury. Fayetteville head coach James Attinger said it was a misunderstanding of the rules on his team’s part.
“When goals are scored at the top levels in the professional levels the clock doesn’t stop,” Attinger said. “We wanted to get the ball back to the half-line little knowing the clock does stop. We wanted to get the ball back to the half line since we had the momentum. We didn’t really need to get into it with their keeper.”
Fayetteville would score again with less than eight minutes remaining in the game to pull within one. A bouncing ball in the box was saved initally by Hundley, but Colin Connor was there for the goal off the rebound.
The Rockets tried to rally late and had chances to do just that. Hundley made a pair of diving saves with five minutes left in the game and another with less than 40 seconds to go. The Rockets were awarded a free kick as well but shot the ball over the net as time expired.
Attinger said despite the loss he felt his team played well and would not have to fix too much going forward.
“I think we played fine,” Attinger said. “Couple unlucky calls, couple of unlucky situations. I don’t think there’s a whole lot we need to fix. We just need to finish.”
Eastern head coach J.P. Gauche said the offensive output from his team was a welcome sight considering their trouble against Hillsboro earlier in the team’s opener.
“Our offense hasn’t looked good this season,” Gauche said. “We played against Hillsboro and we couldn’t even keep it on our half. Hopefully we can continue it into the next couple games. Our defense we always know is going to be stoudt, we didn’t expect to give up those three goals. We expected to give up one or two but we knew if we could get up early we could hold them off.”
Gauche noted the game was an important one to both squads, and not just because it was a league contest.
“It’s always a big rivalry game, we knew that, they knew that,” Gauche said. “It gets a little chippy every year, it’s a tough rivalry game that we expected to be a big game.”