Lady Zs move win away from TRC title share
Brown’s hat trick keys 7-1 win over Peru
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester girls soccer team woke up and moved within a win of the Three Rivers
Conference title Thursday.
Mercedes Brown had a hat trick, and Macie Nelson, Kami Burkett and Abbi Richard also scored to lift the Lady Zs to a 7-1 win over visiting Peru at the Brent Blacketor Memorial Sports Complex.
RHS also scored on an own goal in the second half when an Ellie Shank corner kick deflected off a Peru defender and into the back of the net.
Nelson also had two assists, and Lillith Eaton, Amy Williams and Krista Dillingham had one assist each.
Lauren Boyer scored for Peru.
RHS, who was coming off a 3-0 win over North Miami on Wednesday, improved to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the Three Rivers Conference.
“All in all, everything was great tonight,” RHS coach Chantal Rensberger said. “I like having multiple people who can score.”
The Lady Zs can clinch a share of the TRC title with a win at Maconaquah on Tuesday. Wabash has already clinched a share of the TRC title after finishing conference play 4-1. Wabash’s only TRC loss was to RHS.
If Manchester beats Peru Wednesday, they will also clinch a share of the title.
Boyer scored the game’s first goal, but Nelson tied the game after stealing an outlet pass from Aleesha Zehring and taking two quick steps and tucking a low shot inside the left post with 28:56 left in the half.
A left-footed finish from Brown with 21:49 left in the half gave the Lady Zs a 2-1 lead.
A Dillingham shot that careened off the post and bounced to Burkett, who finished for a goal that made it 3-1 at the 15:51 mark.
Brown’s goal with 5:09 left made it 4-1.
“We were sleeping,” Rensberger said. “I just think they underestimated the speed of that number 3 (Boyer), and she had a wide open breakaway, and our defense was too pushed up and Tess (Tessa Brooks) got beat, which is very uncharacteristic of her, and after that, I think it was like, OK, I feel like we played the same at North Miami yesterday. It was a win, but it was an ugly win. So I just kept my mouth shut, and I knew we would bounce back, and we did.”
Richard might have shown the most determination of the night when she outfought three Peru defenders for a loose ball in the box and then poked a shot past Peru goalkeeper Jazlyn Korving to make it 5-1 with 36:41 left.
Richard is a defender known for controlling the middle. She’s not known for scoring goals.
“Well, I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Richard said with a laugh afterwards. “But then when I just put my head up, I just shot it. I’m not really used to scoring. Just exciting.”
An unassisted Brown goal after an initial shot deflected off a Peru defender made it 6-1 with 27:28 left.
The own goal completed the scoring with 18:53 left.
Peru did not have another shot on goal after Boyer’s early goal.
“It’s something we’ve been working on,” Rensberger said. “We’re trying a 4-3-3 (formation), and it’s just causing confusion with our defense, which is strange. I don’t really understand because it’s one more pushed up, so we pushed it back to go into our regular formation, but with emphasis on the fact that our mids (midfielders) have got to play pushed up and give those drops to our forwards because sometimes there’s an empty spot, and that’s something we’ve been really working on the past couple practices. And it worked for us.
“Our mids did a phenomenal job. Abbi was everywhere. She did great. She did her role.”
Richard, Brown, Brooks, Shank, Dillingham and Dallas Holloway are the team’s six seniors, and all six have played on the varsity since they were freshmen.
“I just feel like we’re stronger together with the six seniors since we’ve played together for the last four years,” Richard said.