Spruce Mountain’s Jaycee Cole (2) dribbles the ball as teammate Calley Baker (11) keeps her eye on the ball while Winthrop’s Clara Szakas (6) closes in in the opening half of a soccer game in Jay on a sunny Thursday.

JAY — Spruce Mountain senior Allison Acritelli had more than a few tricks up her sleeve Thursday when she scored three goals against Winthrop on senior day.

She and the rest of the high-flying Phoenix (7-4-1) pulled away from the headstrong Winthrop Ramblers (5-7), who refused to go quietly, and constructed a convincing 7-3 win.

Spruce Mountain coach Bill Acritelli always insists the Phoenix win as a team — and they did. But it sure helped when Allison, his daughter, drilled back-to-back goals in the opening minutes of the first half and stunned the Ramblers.

“My dad said to us, ‘Start off,’ so I did,” she said. “Sadly the goalie for them couldn’t keep her hands on the ball. Luckily, there was a couple of us at the top there and I was one of them to kick them in.”

Allison said the opening goals certainly helped.

“With our team, when we start off early, it gets us in a good mood and we just go from there,” she said.

Allison scored her first goal when she went head to head with Winthrop goalie Samantha Moody and booted the ball into the net without assistance at 35:24.

Just a few minutes later, she scored again on an Alexa Harmatys feed to give the Phoenix a 2-0 lead.

“To start like that is huge in any game to get goals,” Bill Acritelli said. “She never stops. She makes sure that goalie always has the ball. Her first two goals were from a goalie miscue and her being on top of it.

“That’s smart soccer. The girls know they need to crash the net and that is something they’ve learned tremendously because we are up over 30 goals this year and they have never scored that many goals in the last four seasons.

“Winthrop is not a bad team. When we came into this at the beginning of the year, we would not take any MVC team lightly and we have not. Every game we have played is a good game. Yeah, we scored seven goals. It was senior night and they wanted it and quite a few seniors scored tonight. That definitely boosts morale for the team.”

Of course, a two-goal deficit didn’t sit well with the Ramblers, who closed the gap with a goal at 27:16. Aaliyah Wilson Falcone got one by Spruce Mountain goalie Annabelle Collins using a Madison Moore assist.

Spruce returned the favor about eight minutes later when Rylee Bubier scored on Hanna St. Pierre assist to make it a 3-1 game.

Wilson Falcone took matters into her own hands reeled off her second goal with no assistance.

The Phoenix refused to head into halftime with a one-goal lead. Harmatys scored with 2:04 left in the first half, with the assist going to Calley Baker.

“They definitely played hard,” Winthrop coach Jaynelle Smith said. “They played with these guys, which was impressive.

“We kept our head up the entire game and we kept going to the last 30 seconds where we had a shot. They wanted it.

“I think overall, just not giving up and they stuck with it. I thought they (Phoenix) were tough. They are a tough team.”

In the second half, the Phoenix watched two shots on net slam off the crossbar and allowed the Ramblers to score first. Kena Souza cut Spruce’s two-goal lead to one when she scored on a Natalie Frost.

But Allison Acritelli didn’t miss the next one off a direct kick to complete her hat trick and give Spruce Mountain a 5-2 lead with 14:44 left in the game.

The Phoenix followed up with two more goals, with Baker and Grace Harmatys doing the honors. Grace Harmatys punched in her goal on a direct kick.

Winthrop goalie Samantha Moody (00) catches the ball as Spruce Mountain’s Hanna St. Pierre moves in in the opening half of a soccer game in Jay on a sunny Thursday.Spruce Mountain’s Hanna St. Pierre (7) flinches as Winthrop’s Elizabeth Ward boots the ball in the opening half of a soccer game in Jay on a sunny Thursday.

Spruce Mountain’s Allison Acritelli boots the ball past Winthrop goalie Samantha Moody (00) as teammate Pearl Bechard (15) tries to intervene and scores her first of three goals against Winthrop in the opening half of a soccer game in Jay on a sunny Thursday.

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