September 8th, 2017

Big four score often in SHA win over CAL

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Big four score often in SHA win over CAL
Sacred Heart's Ashley Durik looks to make a play on the ball / photo by Conor Revell

Sacred Heart’s soccer program is known around the state for its strong defensive tactics, but this year things are quite different.

It showed when Sacred Heart scored early and often and cruised past host Christian Academy 7-3 Thursday night.

“We’re pretty young on defense,” Sacred Heart head coach Jaclyn Puntillo said. “I think it’s rare to see two sophomores that start on the backline. We’re adjusting and learning a lot. Overall, I was pleased with them; I think we need to do a better job of defending set pieces. And, we also need to communicate better since we’re so young in the back with Eliza (Kelly) in goal and Cam (Barber) and Chloe (Kilcran) in the back – it’s really important to them to find their voice on the backline and start communicating.”

The big four – Cassie Amshoff (one goal, two assists), Ashley Durik (two goals), Brielle Heuglin (one goal, two assists) and Kiley Polk (two goals) – took care of most of the offense for the Valkyries (7-2). Carol Francke also recorded a goal.

“I think a big part of our scoring is communication,” Amshoff said. “But I also think that’s something that we need to work on. As the season progresses I think our communication will get better and we will be alright.”

Olivia Watson led CAL (5-4-1) with two goals and an assist. Caroline Donovan also netted a goal and Olivia Warren and Ellen Josse both dished out one assist.

“I think we had a couple of defensive breakdowns tonight,” Durik said. “Everyone needs to stay on their marks and follow the runners with the ball and containing the other team fastest players making sure they don’t get good shots on goal.”

It was the Centurions that went ahead 1-0 when Caroline Donovan sent a ball flying past Sacred Heart goalkeeper Eliza Kelly with 34:39 remaining in the opening half.

“I’ll tell you, it’s really uncomfortable for me to play like that because we have been a very defensive team in the past,” Puntillo said of her offensive minded squad. “It’s uncomfortable for me because sometimes we give up more goals than what I’d like. What I do like – particularly Kiley, Cassie, Durik, and Brielle – is putting opponents under so much pressure that it overwhelms them.

“I think our strategy at this point is to not allow Cassie or Durik to go one before and we’re really emphasizing that we play as a unit. When we’re attacking, all 10 of us are attacking, and when we’re defending; we’re behind the ball and defending with Eliza. Additionally, since we’re so offensive minded, we have to play as a team.”

Ashley Durik scored the equalizer and then Polk scored two goals in less than 10 minutes to put the Valkyries up 3-1 with 12:39 to play in the first half.

“Honestly it has been a lot of fun leading,” Polk said. “I can remember coming in as a freshman when Cat Fell was the leader. I got to learn from her and now I’m a senior and I’ve been able to take what I learned and help control and lead the team.”

Watson scored her first goal cutting the Sacred Heart advantage to 3-2 before Francke and Amshoff scored goals to make it 5-2 at halftime.

“I think us offensive players – especially in this game – CAL was serving a lot of long balls,” Amshoff said. “We need to stop the service as much as we can and help our defense and keep communicating.”

Heuglin and Durik scored goals for the Valkyries in the second half while Lawson recorded the only goal for the Centurions.

“I think at this point all four of them (Amshoff, Durik, Heuglin, and Polk) have matured,” Puntillo said. “They’re junior and seniors now. They’ve had a lot of years to come together and Coach (Kyle) Jones has spent time talking to them – they all have different styles of play – that they need to play together to be successful as possible.”

Katherine Bosch stood in the goal for CAL and saved two of the Valkyries 16 shots.

Kelly saved five of the Centurions 10 shots. 


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