JAY — Julia Martel and Kaci O’Grady scored two goals apiece, including a pair exactly two minutes apart midway through the first half, to pace No. 10 Greely to a 5-0 victory over No. 7 Spruce Mountain in a Class B South girls’ soccer preliminary round game Saturday at Taglienti Field.
Despite being the host and the favorite in terms of seeding, The Phoenix (out of the MVC) knew it was a tall task to face the Rangers (7-7-1) of the WMC. Spruce Mountain kept the game scoreless into the 23rd minute before Martel broke the stalemate. O’Grady then muscled through the Phoenix (8-6-1) defense two minutes later.
“We had several chances, and it could have been more, but unfortunately it is what it is,” Greely coach Josh Muscadin said. “I think the second half, that’s when we probably more settled down and started to move the ball and play a little. Compare the first half, everybody was rushing. Everybody wants to score, instead of looking at the big picture.”
Phoenix goalie Annabelle Collins punched away an O’Grady shot with 20 seconds left in the half to keep it a 2-0 game.
“I told the girls (at halftime) ‘You never stop believing,'” Phoenix coach Bill Acritelli said. “You know, I told them that — they all wanted to play it defensive, and I didn’t want them to do that. I wanted them to play their game and see where it led them.”
Martell scored again less than six minutes into the second half, with Logan Pray providing the assist. Margo Kenyon gave the Phoenix their first shot on goal of the game just over a minute later, but Greely goalie Brooke Obar corralled the low roller.
Sawyer Dusch fed O’Grady for a long shot past Collins 18 minutes into the second to make it 4-0. Lauren Carrell put away Abigail Irish’s shot that rang off the right post for the final goal with 1:02 left.
Collins stopped 20 of 25 shots, while Obar made two saves and Savannah Lemieux finished the game in goal for Greely.
“Annabelle has been huge for us this year,” Acritelli said.
“She kept them in the game a little bit because she made some pretty decent saves,” Muscadin said.