Sacred Heart’s grasp on Wednesday’s soccer match in Stover may have forced its grip before the first kick.
Armed with a handful of subs and more experience, the Lady Gremlins shut out Stover 7-0 in a match that saw the Lady Bulldogs struggle to push numbers beyond midfield on their attack.
Stover head coach Chris Witte said soccer IQ and physical conditioning played a role in Sacred Heart’s dominance Wednesday.
“I think fitness is still one of the big issues we have to work on,” Witte said. “They ran around us. They’re really good at passing and their awareness is good. One of the biggest things we’re going to have to work on is where to be in our position. Most of the experience our girls have is from the games they’ve played this season.”
Laura Wadley set the tone for Sacred Heart with a goal in the 17th minute. She was in front of the goal again more than 10 minutes later, beating Stover goalkeeper Kayla Nolting to the ball.
Wadley completed a hat trick with 18 minutes to play, beating her defender and striking with her right foot. She said her goals were a product of a pass-heavy offense.
“We just moved the ball around really well,” Wadley said. “We played our system right, swinging the ball before moving forward. We just trusted the system.”
Taylor Thomas made the score 7-0 when her shot took an odd bounce in front of Stover’s goalkeeper and redirected up and away, into the net.
Emma Rollings scored the third goal with 6:45 to play in the first half. Sacred Heart led 3-0 at halftime. Isabelle Wilhelm cleaned up a loose ball in the box with a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper’s left glove. Sacred Heart scored on a Stover own goal minutes later after a Lady Gremlin corner kick.
With the Kickapoo Shootout beginning Friday, Sacred Heart head coach Travis Cairer said he wanted the team to practice keeping possession while ahead.
“We really needed to work on possession,” Cairer said. “Once we got a few goals and were pretty confident, we started really trying to knock the ball around and possess it a lot more.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-530-0142 ext. 1484 or on twitter at @abagueros2