By Anthony Jones
For the second year in a row, Triad has capped off the Metro Cup with a perfect record.
After starting their season and the Cup with a 2-0 win over Rochester on March 14, their next game came two days later when they took on the Springfield Senators at Edwardsville High School.
Gabbie Wood opened up the scoring in the game just 14 minutes in, coming off of a short cross from the goal line from Laney Harshany.
Triad nearly extended their lead twice in the final minutes of the half, but an offsides call and save from a defender on an empty net rebuffed those attempts.
The 1-0 score finally ended later in the half, with another Triad goal coming off the boot of Maddie Milligan. Hannah Sparks assisted on the score.
The Lady Knights opened the game up in the second half, as Macy Mell and Cary Burton swelled their lead to 4-0 with a pair of long range strikes.
Hannah Walker and Karen Speer would put on the finishing touches of the game with 2 more scores in the final ten minutes, leaving Triad with a 6-0 victory. Reagan Chigas delivered a shutout for the Lady Knights in net.
On March 19, Triad would find themselves back on their home field for their most challenging foe so far as the Edwardsville Tigers played the role of visitor. With a 2-0 record, the Tigers had already built an impressive resume with a 3-0 win over defending state champions and a 4-1 win over Rochester.
With the winds whipping with no consistent direction in the first half, good offensive looks were at a premium for both squads. Even though the score remained scoreless at the intermission, Edwardsville had a clear edge in the first half when it came to creating promising attacks,
“We just had to pick up our game and they’re just so fast and physical and I think they threw us off because they made it difficult for us to do anything. But we just told the girls that they needed to make better, quicker decisions,” Triad Head Coach Matt Bettlach said of his team’s first half performance.
A free kick from Caty Burton with 23 minutes left in regulation looked like it would finally break the stalemate as it sailed over the head of Edwardsville’s goalkeeper, but the ball caught enough of the crossbar to bounce out. However, the Lady Knights wouldn’t have to wait much longer for another promising attack.
In the 20th minute, Alina Aryan found Hannah Sparks on a cross that resulted in a hard hit shot on goal. The Tiger’s goaltender managed to block the shot, but Maddie Milligan was perfectly positioned for the rebound and put her team up 1-0 with a nice tap in over the goalie.
Just three minutes later Edwardsville did something Triad hadn’t allowed in their last 17 games–they scored.
It wasn’t long before the score once again changed.
From the left hash of the 16 yard line, Triad’s Gina Catanzaro blasted a shot into the top right corner of the net for a 2-1 advantage.
The flurry of 3 goals in 8 minutes proved to be the only stretch of scoring in the game, leaving the hosts with a 2-1 victory. Kendall Chigas recorded the win in net for Triad.
Following the win, Coach Bettlach talked about coming out of Metro Cup play with a 3-0 record, “We play in the Metro Cup because you want to see where you are at the beginning of the season. For us to go 3-0 against three great programs is a great way to start the season.”