By DEREK COLEMAN
The Putnam Herald
Once again, we're with the girls for this week's high school soccer game as the Lady Redskins of Hurricane take on the Red Dragons of St. Albans High School.
This game, played on the very warm evening of Sept. 5, was listed as a conference match, but the difference in these two teams was obvious from the start.
Hurricane kicked off and immediately advanced into the St. Albans' half of the field, a position they stayed in for virtually the whole of the first half.
It took less than three minutes for Bailey Fisher, last Saturday's star player, to fire her first shot on goal from the edge of the penalty area. It was a hard, low ball that the St. Albans' keeper deflected out for a corner kick.
The corner came to nothing and the visitors took a goal kick that was intercepted by the Redskins' midfield. The ball was played to Fisher once more and this time, she shot just over the bar.
The Red Dragons seemed unable to deal with the speed and accuracy of the home team's passing and it was just two minutes later that Fisher received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, feinted left, turned to her right to make space and fired the ball into the left corner of the net. 1-0 to Hurricane.
It was a sign of things to come; just a minute later, the St. Albans defense made a poor clearance that the Hurricane No. 8 intercepted. She took a couple of steps and lobbed the ball over the keeper to score her second with just seven minutes gone. Not to be outdone, Danielle Ray, the Redskins' No. 3, did exactly the same a minute later, lifting the ball over the keeper to the middle of the goal. The visitors kicked off, Hurricane's midfield intercepted a pass and put a ball out to the right where Ray seized it, ran into the area and beat the keeper for her second goal in a minute. 4-0 to the Redskins.
By now Hurricane's midfield were in total command of the game, chasing every loose ball and challenging every time the visitors got it. Their forwards attacked relentlessly, especially down the right wing, and it only took two more minutes for Bailey Fisher to get her hat trick, and make the score 5-0, with a high ball from the right side of the penalty area.
Over the next 10 minutes, St. Albans had every player defending and it wasn't until the 20th minute that the Hurricane keeper touched the ball for the first time, kicking clear a back pass from one of her own defenders.
Fisher found the net again a minute later as she ran into the visitors' penalty area, avoided a tackle and fired right footed into the net. She was obviously enjoying the game and shot at goal at every opportunity. In the 33rd minute she took a free kick on the left touch line mid-way in the visitors' half, lifted the ball over the defense and beat the stranded keeper for her fifth goal, adding her sixth from the edge of the penalty area less than a minute later.
The Redskins defense once again intercepted the ball straight from the kick off and sent it out on to the right wing, where Abby Fowler fired in a cross. A defender blocked the attempt, but Fowler was following up and lifted the ball over the opposing player and into the net to make the score 9-0 to Hurricane.
That's how the scoreboard read at half time, but it's worth mentioning that the whistle sounded just as Bailey Fisher sent a low shot into the net. The goal was disallowed as it came a second or two after the whistle.
St. Albans kicked off the second half and a minute later the Hurricane goalkeeper got her second touch as she collected a loose ball and threw it out to the left wing. Here, No. 13, Lauren Coleman, got the ball on the half way line, ran up the wing, turned into the penalty area and put a shot into the roof of the net to bring the home team's score into double figures.
By now the Red Dragons were beginning to show more aggression, especially down their left side where Jane Smith and Ali Sexton combined well to mount attacks that were invariably foiled by the Hurricane defense. In the sixth minute of the half they won a free kick just inside the Hurricane half and for the first time the visitors had players in the Redskins' penalty area. Unfortunately, the kick didn't reach them and in the 10th minute, Claire Roberts on the left wing for Hurricane fired in a low shot that the keeper got her hands to but was unable to stop as it rolled into the net for the Redskins' 11th goal.
Although Sexton and Smith continued to try for St. Albans, they were unable to penetrate the home back line and could not get a shot on goal. Meanwhile, Lauren Coleman's runs down the right were proving hard for the visitors to deal with and, five minutes before the end, Grace Drake met a cross and tried a weak shot from the edge of the Dragons' area. The keeper dived for the ball, fumbled and could only watch as it trickled into an empty net.
A minute later, Hurricane's Claire Roberts intercepted the ball on the halfway line, ran down the middle and shot from the edge of the penalty area to make the final score Hurricane 13, St. Albans 0.
St. Albans never gave up trying, but they were simply outclassed in every department. Bailey Fisher's first half double hat trick made her the outstanding player again, but the whole of the Hurricane team were excellent and deserve to share the praise. Abi Sexton and Jane Smith were the best of the players for the visitors.