The Falcons utilized five goals from five different players to overcome Francis Scott Key 5-1 at Gerstell on Monday.
Having so many scoring threats has been beneficial for the Falcons all year, Wilson said. Gerstell coach Giuliano Celenza agreed.
“It’s been pretty big, to have different girls score every game, to be able to put in different girls at the top or switching it around,” Celenza said. “It helps as a coach to switch players around, so it goes a long way with the long season.”
Forwards Jillian Wilson and Lauren Messinese each scored a goal and added an assist in the victory.
The Falcons got their offense going right from the start and just about three minutes in when Wilson crossed a ball over to Messinese who finished the shot from the left to give Gerstell an early 1-0 lead over the Eagles (1-8).
The two connected again two minutes later when Messinese found Wilson for a goal with 35:41 still to play in the first half.
“Lauren and I are always up top together and it kind of works out nicely because we always know where we’re going to be,” Wilson said. “We put it together tonight and it worked out nicely so it worked out in our favor.”
Wilson came close to making it 3-0 when she carried the ball up through the middle and challenged FSK goalie Haley Sawyers, but Sawyers kicked the ball out of bounds. Sawyers fell to the turf and caught the ball in her hands to make another nifty save moments later as the Eagles’ defense received consistent pressure from the Falcons.
Emily Dell came in to replace Sawyers with 19:11 left in the first half.
First-year coach Scott Matteson said Sawyers can play the field and mind the net and will usually switch out to the field after the first half. Sawyers has been nursing an injury and therefore, was unable to play in the field on Monday.
Luckily, he has Dell to even out the goalkeeping as well.
“I’ve been letting [Haley] play the first half and come in the second when players are getting tired,” Matteson said. “With a smaller bench, when we play these schools … I don’t have that luxury, so she can come in and fill in for some of the players. They’re so close and their styles are so close. They’ve been playing together for three years.
“They’re both juniors, so they know each other and work each other out well.”
The Falcons were called for a hand ball that set up a free kick opportunity for the Eagles. Alexis Adkins took the kick and it sailed over the head of Falcons goalie Noel Talbot and out of reach to bring FSK within two.
The Falcons held a 3-1 advantage at the half and it remained so through 12 minutes of play in the second frame until Wilson took a free kick from just outside the box to put the Falcons up 4-1.
Sawyers, who started the second half in goal, was replaced by Dell with 25:19 remaining.
Senior midfielder Maddie Bauhof set up for a fifth corner-kick attempt for Gerstell with 16 minutes to go and Julia Quenzer finished the shot to put game out of reach.
“Obviously, there were things we need to work on,” Celenza said. “Finishing, even though we had five goals, I think the finish could have been a bit better but the girls stepped up and did what they have to do and I commend them a lot.”
Sawyers made eight saves for FSK and Dell had 10.
“We had to not rely on our long balls, we just couldn’t catch up to them,” Matteson said. “At halftime, I told them to play small ball, get tighter, get closer, and play the short passes. We started doing that to some effect as much as we could, but that was something they did that we explained they did well with. Our defensive marking was a little lacking and we gave up some goals that way.”
Goals: FSK-Alexis Adkins; G-Lauren Messinese, Jillian Wilson, Maddie Bauhof, Abby Best, Julia Quenzer.
Assists: FSK-none; G-Messinese, Bauhof.
Saves: FSK-18 (Haley Sawyers 8, Emily Dell 10); G-none.
Halftime: Gerstell, 3-1.