Heading into Saturday’s KVAC matchup with Spruce Mountain, the Shipbuilders had outscored their opponents 19-3 to begin the season — two dominant wins, a tight victory over Lincoln Academy and a one-goal loss at Oceanside.

This one was more comfortable.

Morse pitched its third straight lopsided win, knocking off the Phoenix 8-0 and moving into the top third of Class B South.

“Today was a day where it seemed like everything came together,” Morse coach Steve Boyce said. “Certainly we had a little bit more time than we’re used to and we took advantage of it. The girls found the spaces and passes found the marks. Today was an easy game to coach.”

It didn’t take long for things to come together. Less than two minutes into the match, forward Emily Martin got the ball in space and shot into the bottom left-hand corner to give Morse (4-1) a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, a failed Spruce Mountain (0-6) clear found its way to Sierra Wallace, who fired the ball high into the net to double the lead.

By the time 10 minutes had passed, Martin had notched a second goal on a wide open breakaway and the score was 3-0.


“We were able to pass back and then send through,” Martin said. “And I could run on to it because we had all that time to think. It just worked out good.”

An own goal from the Phoenix was followed by Martin completing her hat trick just before halftime, and Morse took a 5-0 lead into the break. On top of firing 25 shots in the match, the Shipbuilders earned four corners and held Spruce Mountain to just one shot — a free-kick 10 minutes into the second frame.

Fifteen of the 25 shots were on Spruce keeper Allison Acritelli’s cage.

“It makes us feel really good that we’re able to possess the ball like that and we’re able to find the net that much,” Martin said. “It’s just a good feeling.”

Coaching perspective

Wallace added another goal in the 45th minute and Martin made it four on another calm finish in space six minutes later. By that time, the match was out of reach for Spruce Mountain.


It’s been a tough season for coach Jon Blaisdell’s club, which is low on numbers and forced to field a lot of junior varsity players.

“Basically, they were just much better up front than we were,” Blaisdell said. “They dominated the midfield. I tried to get some better players back there. We nullified it a bit, held them to three in the second. I told them that if we hold them to one or two in the second half, that’s a victory of us. We’re just outgunned a little bit.”

With minimal possession and constant pressure from the Shipbuilders, Blaisdell was focused on his back line. At the very least, more shots were blocked and cleared in the second half and the visitors sparked one counterattack that led to their lone corner kick of the match.

“What were working on is trying to get the defensive unit working together,” Blaisdell said. “We did change our formation — we brought back another defender. So, what we try and do is, like we did in the second half, just try and stop the bleeding a little bit. If we can get working together a little bit and then get some balls up to the front, maybe we can get some breakaways. That’s what we were working on today.”

On the other side, Boyce was given the opportunity to experiment a bit. After the team built the big advantage early, the coach used four- and five-player sub rotations — a luxury that Spruce Mountain doesn’t have.

“What we did today is we tried things that we didn’t have the opportunity to try before,” Boyce said. “Put people in positions that we think they have potential and we get to see how they work out. That’s what we did, took advantage of that.”

Miranda Gagne added Morse’s final goal of the match with just over six minutes left to play. Goalkeeper Marissa Park was mostly untested, with the exception of the Spruce Mountain free kick in the 50th minute that clanked off the field goal post above the net.

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