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By Anthony Jones
Triad soccer found their offensive footing last week, scoring 25 goals across three games.
Their offensive explosion began on April 18, as the Jersey Panthers visited for a Mississippi Valley Conference matchup.
The Lady Knights found the net nine times in the opening half, with London Looby and Caty Burton scoring two goals each. Tavey Duncan held the Panthers scoreless through the first half in net.
Triad tallied three more goals in a shortened second half, giving them a 12-0 victory. Looby finished with a hat trick, while Burton and Taylor Self added two a piece. Jackie Barkus, Gabbie Wood, Maddie Hunt, Ella George and Sophia Bohnak each scored as well.
Two days later, the Lady Knights returned to their home pitch to battle Highland. Triad defeated the Bulldogs 7-0 in their prior league meeting.
Abby Schaft opened the scoring for the home team just ten minutes into the league battle. The Lady Knights would score five more goals over the next 12 minutes, including three from Wood.
Triad finished the first half with a 6-0 advantage, with Burton providing their other points. Burton added another goal just six minutes into the second half to become the second Lady Knight to earn a hat trick in the game.
The remainder of the contest saw Alina Ayran score twice, while Self and Looby also scored for an 11-0 win.
The then 6-6-2 rounded out their home stretch against Edwardsville on April 22. Edwardsville entered the non-conference matchup with an 8-3 mark.
The Tigers tallied the game’s first goal with three minutes left, as Xaiver-commit Olivia Baca headed in a shot. Edwardsville scored two minutes later for a 2-0 advantage at the half.
Scoring their third goal in six minutes of action, Edwardsville pulled ahead 3-0 early in the second after Baca lasered a goal from across the box.
Hannah Sparks responded for Triad with a remarkable goal of her own with 30 minutes to play.
“Hannah made a great run as a wingback. She was a forward last year and she came in this year and she said she’s been playing back and she has the ability to go up. You know as a coach that you can have her play in the back but she can also get forward and she showed why. Then we actually put her up top and she almost had another chance after that,” Coach Matt Bettlach broke down the junior’s first goal of the season.
Both squads scored once more in the remaining time, resulting in a 4-2 final.
Alexa Holley scored the Lady Knight’s final goal, after converting a free kick from the edge of the box after the Tiger goalie grabbed the ball outside of the box. The senior defender scored against a six-person wall for her first goal of the season.
Triad’s upcoming schedule features two key Mississippi Valley games: a visit to Mascoutah and a hosting of Waterloo
Bettlach previewed those league battles for his team that stands 5-1 in league play, “Mascoutah was here not that long ago, it was 1-0 in overtime on a penalty kick, so I think Mascoutah is gonna give us fits as well. Then we’ve got Waterloo here to try to even the series for a tough week.”
Not only do those games hold key implications in the league standings, but their April 25 visit to Mascoutah will be the team’s final game before playoff seedings are voted on.
Defeating an Indian squad that is a member of their subsection is vital in Bettlach’s mind, “It’s very important and that was actually the message before we played Mascoutah in the first game and it was against Civic Memorial as well. If we want to tell everybody ‘hey, we deserve that top seed’, it has to be because of what we’ve done against people in our subsection.”