Three goals in a span of three minutes and 56 seconds of the second half helped lift the Elk County Catholic Lady Crusaders varsity soccer team to a 4-0 season-opening victory Friday afternoon over the visiting DuBois Central Catholic Lady Cardinals.
The two teams played evenly in the scoreless first half. ECC held a slim 6-4 edge in shots at intermission, and only a couple of difficult saves by freshman Lady Crusaders goalkeeper Hanna Onink kept the Lady Cardinals off the scoreboard.
"Central had us (ECC) back on our heels at the start of the game," said Lady Crusaders coach Don Fabiano Friday after the contest. "It was not until late in the first half when the play started to tilt in our favor."
The tilt became severe in the second half. ECC Sophomore Emma Daghir intercepted a DCC goal kick and put it into the goal off the back post with 34:10 left in the game. With 30:49 remaining, sophomore Michaela Cashmer deflected in a slotted pass from senior Abbi Petrosky for a 2-0 lead. Just 35 seconds later, freshman Julia Sweeney tallied, tipping in a pass from Daghir.
The scoring was complete with 5:43 left in the contest when Daghir got her second goal on a pass from junior Kendra Dornisch.
"Emma (Daghir) just had a breakout game today," said Fabiano. "She controlled her side of the field and besides scoring twice, set up a goal and sent a number of other balls across in front of the net.
"What a game by all these young players on this team. I mean, three goals came from sophomores and the fourth from a freshman, and that's only half the story."
On defense, the Lady Crusaders limited DCC's chances with a lineup that included defenders Sam Zimmerman, Erin Petrosky, Marissa Heary, Morgan Onink and Michelle Imbrogno, with Hanna Onink in goal. Of these players, Morgan Onink and Imbrogno are juniors and the rest are freshmen.
"Hanna (Onink) was solid in net for her first game, but even she thanked her teammates for the defensive effort in front of her," said Fabiano.
"I don't think you could ask for anything more in a season opener from such a young team," he said, noting that eight of the squad's 17 players on the roster are in their first year of varsity play.
Now 1-0 on the year, the Lady Crusaders will return to action Tuesday, Sept. 6 at Curwensville starting at 4 p.m.