August 29th, 2017

Cougars beat PRP, earn program 100th victory

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Cougars beat PRP, earn program 100th victory
Holy Cross' Dakota Young moves the ball past PRP's Ximena Arrellon / photo by Conor Revell

Alexandra Harshfield may have been sick Tuesday night but that didn’t deter her from being the star on the pitch.

Harshfield dished out three assists as Holy Cross defeated visiting Pleasure Ride Park 3-1 to secure a second straight 21st District regular season title.

“Alexandra is the director of our offense but she’s sick today,” Holy Cross head coach Scott Walker said. “She was out there playing and wasn’t feeling well. I had to play her in spurts and couldn’t keep her out on the field as long as I normally do. I had to find the right time to get her out there and the right time to take her out. She did an awesome job tonight.”

The win was the Holy Cross (3-1) program 100th victory since its inception 15 years ago.

“We came in wanting to kick it towards the corner and cross it in,” Madison Turner said. “We knew coming in that they ran a sweeper so we were going to be unable to go down the middle.”

Ann Oakley, Kailey Reed, and Turner scored off of Harshfield’s three assists while Caitlyn Frazier scored the lone goal for the Panthers.

“They’re my four captains,” Walker said. “Kailey is my vocal leader while Oakley, Turner, and Harshfield all lead by example. They’re out there and they always give 100 percent. Madison was feeling a little bit under the weather too but we did what we could.”

Oakley scored the game first goal with 17:58 left in the first half when Harshfield booted a corner kick from the left side and headed it in.

“I saw a perfect opportunity, a perfect kick from my teammate Alexandra,” Oakley said. “She’s the best kicker around. She got me the ball and I just headed it in.”

Turner made it 2-0 when Harshfield got her the ball and Turner tried to cross it but PRP goalkeeper Madison Lowe was unable to handle the ball and it rolled into the net.

“I was trying to cross it and I got lucky,” Turner said with a laugh. “It just happened to roll past the goalkeeper hand and into the goal.”

After receiving a Harshfield pass, Reed found some daylight and sent the ball flying past Lowe and into the back of the net to give Holy Cross a 3-0 lead with 35:25 to play.

“My role with the offense is to get the ball out to the side and bring it back to the middle when there’s space,” Harshfield said. “We had to play inside, outside, and then bring it back inside.”

Frazier scored the game final goal and got PRP (1-5) on the board with 32:16 remaining.

Holy Cross fired 17 shots with Lowe saving three shots.

“We wanted to play fast,” Walker said. “We wanted to play strong, we really emphasized that we wanted to play fundamental soccer. Sometimes we get tied up in the game and we end up playing kickball. We wanted to be the ones that controlled the ball and control the tempo. I thought we did a really good job of that. In the second half we boxed it in and played a bit heavy on the defensive side which we had a luxury of doing.”

PRP fired eight shots, Holy Cross goalkeeper Bella Velez made five saves.

“We’ve been working on our passes a lot lately,” Oakley said. “We have been doing through balls rather than playing kickball which is what we usually do. The bad thing is when we do play kickball, it doesn’t work.”

The Cougars have secured the No. 1 seed for the 21st District Tournament and a first round bye as well as a spot in October’s Sixth Region Tournament.

Fairdale and Pleasure Ridge Park will play in a 21st District semifinal game with the winner securing a spot in the district title game and Sixth Region Tournament.

With that said, the Cougars are looking to repeat as district champions in October and perhaps do set some history.

“We are looking to accomplish some stuff that the program has never done before,” Walker said. “I think we’re looking pretty strong this year. Our goals are to play as a team and win as many games as we can. We will tie if we have too but we want to win. The program has only won 10 games (2011) in a season once and we have a goal to win 12 this season.” 


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