October 19th, 2017

Valkyries advance to Seventh Region finals

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Valkyries advance to Seventh Region finals
Several Valkyries and Bulldogs fight for the ball / photo by Conor Revell

Sacred Heart’s Camille Barber normally plays right defensive back but stepped up and was an offensive presence Thursday night.

Barber scored a goal and dished out an assist as the Valkyries defeated host Male 3-1 in a Seventh Region semifinal game.

“We watched some film from the last time we played them,” Sacred Heart head coach Jaclyn Puntillo said. “We kind of identified the facts that our outside backs have the opportunity to get forward.

“They play really, really deep which isn’t necessarily how we want to defend. It makes our center back uncomfortable. We knew that if we got Cam (Barber) or Lexy (Wagner) forward, that would put a bit more pressure on them.”

Lauren Payne and Brielle Heuglin scored the other two Sacred Heart goals and Cassie Amshoff had an assist.

Ray netted a goal off an assist from Abby Cason for the Lady Bulldogs lone goal.

The Valkyries defeated Male 4-0 in the regular season.

Barber scored the game first goal when her cross from the left wing rolled past Male goalkeeper Molly Nunn and into the right corner with 24:16 to go in the first half.

“It was definitely supposed to be a cross,” Barber said with a laugh. “I got really lucky on that one though. It was a good way to start the game so I’m not complaining.”

Heuglin then added to the lead when her flick off of an Amshoff assist put the Valkyries up 2-0 with 16:09 left in the first half.

But then the dangerous Ray headed in a ball from Cason to put Male within 2-1 with 15:07 remaining in the opening half.

“Part of our game plan wasn’t to give up silly fouls inside the 18 where they can easily hit balls to Jenna Ray,” Puntillo said. “Obviously a 2-0 game is very different from a 2-1 game. We dropped Cassie (Amshoff) into the screen a little bit.

“That takes away a little bit of our offensive firepower, but I thought she did a nice job of defending Katie Irwin (Male) with Kiley (Polk) and Meg (Williams). Katie Irwin is one of the best players in the state. I think she showed that today even though they lost. That was one of the adjustments we made to slow down their counter attack.”

Sacred Heart didn’t ice the game until Payne scored off a Barber assist with 5:37 left.

“Cam (Barber) is really fast and she got to the end line,” Payne said. “She always gets the ball to the end line. I just tried to hold my run and I was there when the ball came in, I touched it, and finished it.”

The Valkyries fired eight shots while Nunn made two saves.

“It was planned for me to be more involved with the offense,” Barber said. “I feel like that’s one of my strengths and I’m able to do that on this team. It works a lot so that’s a good thing.”

Male fired five shots while Sacred Heart goalkeeper Eliza Kelly saved three shots.

The Valkyries will play Manual with the hopes of winning their fifth straight Seventh Region title at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Male.

“Oh gosh, there’s a target on our back especially since this is my fifth year,” Puntillo said. “We have won the region every year. Absolutely there’s a little bit of pressure but I think especially with our seniors that this isn’t anything we aren’t used to.

“We know no matter who we play, we’re going to get their best game. We can’t take any games off, while that’s a little bit of pressure, we know that we can’t back down, and we have to be at our best every game.” 


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