September 24th, 2017

SHA rallies to beat AHS in the Cleat Game

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

SHA rallies to beat AHS in the Cleat Game
Sacred Heart's Anna Buse tries to make a move around Assumption's defenders / photo by Conor Revell

Sacred Heart’s soccer team played Assumption’s game for 60 minutes and then found themselves in trouble.

But the Valkyries recovered and scored two goals in less than 10 minutes during the last 20 minutes of the game to defeat host Assumption 2-1 in the Jenna Cooper Cleat Game Sunday night.

“We talked about how when there’s a major stoppage during a game that we need to take that time refocus,” Sacred Heart head coach Jaclyn Puntillo said. “That’s what they did and we started to move the ball around. We were letting Assumption dictate the tempo of the game. We are good at moving the ball on the ground and we didn’t do that during the first half.”

It’s Sacred Heart’s second straight victory in the Cleat Game and fourth straight in the series.

Center back Addy Lancaster was named MVP for Sacred Heart (12-2) while Addison Cline was named MVP for Assumption (7-6-3).

“This game just shows you that you have to have 80 minutes of soccer in you,” Assumption head coach Tammy Hailey said. “I think we played 75 percent of the game our best and about 25 percent of that game down. Against Sacred Heart you can’t let down at all. As long as we come out and play 80 minutes tough I think we can stick with them.”

Lauren Payne scored the game winning goal off a cross from Kiley Polk and sent it into the left side of the goal with 9:35 to play.

“The cross came in and then Kiley kicked it and it went off a defender,” Payne said. “The ball landed right at my feet and I just tried to place it in the goal and I got it.”

At halftime the game was in a scoreless tie. 

The Valkyries had appeared to score the game first goal when Polk fired a free kick, Amshoff headed it, and Caroline Franke headed the ball into the goal with 25:48 left but was ruled offsides.

Momentum shifted for a short time after that.

“We wanted them to play our game,” Hailey said. “We wanted to put so much pressure on them that instead of them beating us to the ball that we would win the ball and make that follow up. I think we did a good job of that but we got tired at the end. We had a couple of people that had to come out and that made the difference. Our outside mids worked their tails off but just got tired at the end.”

Katie Howard put the Rockets up 1-0 with 22:32 remaining when she scored off a Grace Moore assist and sent the ball flying to the left of Sacred Heart goalkeeper Eliza Kelly.

“Grace Moore worked her butt off,” Howard said. “If it wasn’t for her, the goal wouldn’t have happened. I was just there and got very lucky to be able to get the shot. It was all Grace.”  

Polk got the Valkyries on the board when she netted the equalizer off a touch from Cassie Amshoff to tie the game at one with 18:53 to go.

“It came across the middle and Cassie (Amshoff) was about to take it and I just told her to let me take it,” Polk said. “She left it there and I took a touch around the defender and found the back of the net.”

Assumption had their chances with six corner kicks but only fired off four shots while Kelly made two saves.

“I thought Addy (Lancaster) and Chloe (Kilcran) were great today,” Puntillo said. “Our whole back line played excellent. We gave up that goal but other than that we played great defensively with the exception of allowing a lot of corner kicks. Assumption is excellent at set pieces and at corner kicks. To not allow any goals on those, that made me very happy. I would like to allow a few less corner kicks in the future.”

Sacred Heart fired six shots at the Rockets goalkeeper Alyssa Campisano who made three saves and had to deal with four corners.

“I think when they got their goal we knew that it was our time to get it together,” Lancaster said. “We just needed to play our soccer and not continue to play their (Assumption) game which is to play the long ball. We wanted to string together more simple passes.”

The two will likely see each other again having met in the Seventh Region Tournament 15 straight years.


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