A first-half scoring burst carried the Sacred Heart Lady Gremlins to an 8-2 win over the Clinton Lady Cardinals on Tuesday at Clover Dell Park. Sacred Heart (13-8-1) scored three goals in a three-minute span as it raced to a 6-0 halftime lead, finishing the regular season with a flourish.
“That was our talk — let’s get focused, let’s treat this as a district game,” said Sacred Heart coach Carlos McField. “It’s our last game before districts, so let’s prepare like it is, and we did. We came out and scored, early and often.”
The wet field conditions did not slow down the Sacred Heart offensive attack. Johannah Hohne started the scoring for the Lady Gremlins, making it 1-0 just nine minutes into the game.
One minute later, Rachel Fritz took a pass from Devin Wadley and beat the Clinton goalkeeper to make it 2-0. Hohne got her second goal in the early scoring blitz, getting an assist from Farren Bankovich to boost the lead to 3-0 and put the Lady Gremlins firmly in control.
“I liked our possession in the first half. We moved the ball well, we created scoring opportunities, and that’s how we should play from here on out. Hopefully it carries over,” said McField.
Another three-goal flurry, this time over a five-minute span, gave the Lady Gremlins an insurmountable advantage. Bankovich, with an assist from Fritz, made it 4-0, and then Wadley boosted the lead to 5-0 when she scored off a pass from Hohne.
Justine Dover closed out the first-half scoring when she launched a long shot from the middle of the field that squirted past Clinton’s second keeper, Megan Bremer, giving Sacred Heart the 6-0 lead at the break.
McField was pleased to see his team finish scoring opportunities, something the Lady Gremlins had not done well in several previous games.
“I think because this past weekend we were more offensive, but we just couldn’t finish, I think the girls were a little more focused on that job, putting the ball in the back of the net,” he said.
It did not take long for Sacred Heart to extend its lead in the second half. Hohne got her third goal of the game, racing up the left sideline, pushing the ball into the middle of the field, and booting the ball into the goal for a 7-0 lead.
Clinton began to recover from the Sacred Heart onslaught and push the ball into its offensive end. Tiffany Cox made it pay off when she scored from the left side with a shot to the upper corner of the goal to make it 7-1.
Cox managed to make her move and finish the score despite losing her shoe on the wet field during her run up the field.
Fritz got her second score of the game for the Lady Gremlins to push the lead back to seven with a shot from directly in front of the goal.
Cox answered Fritz’s score with her second goal, this time breaking up the middle of the field, beating the Sacred Heart defenders and punching it past keeper Kelli Lamb to set the final margin.
The victory concludes the regular season for the Lady Gremlins, who are the top seed in the district tournament and will await the winner of the Van Horn-St. Paul Lutheran game on Saturday. Sacred Heart will play the winner next Tuesday.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” said McField. “We’re going to see who we play after Saturday, and prepare for them. And if we’re lucky enough, we’ll prepare for whoever we would play in the finals.”