HINSDALE, N.H. -- Okay, the bad news first: the Pacer girls soccer team lost their third straight game, this time to Newport, 5-2, on Wednesday. The good news: the team scored their first two goals of the season.
"It was a good start to the game," said Hinsdale coach Drew Arsenault. "Unfortunately, I think we got tired of the heat and it took an effect on us. We're a young team, so we're still learning on the fly. The effort was there."
After receiving a hurried pass from Skylar Bonnette, Hinsdale's Elise Atkins went head-to-head with Newport goalie Mariah Chase in the 29th minute of the first half and went around her to put the ball into the net and the home team up on the scoreboard for the first time this year.
Bonnette went on shot duty at the start of the second half, after a clean give came down the right side from Allison Scott. Bonnette chased it down, and toed it at the Tiger tender. The goalie made contact with her left hand to block, but it was knocked in instead, to bring the Pacers to within one.
After Atkins' goal, and a short-lived team celebration, the visitors quickly turned the tables, and Sophie Willis was about to show Hinsdale what she was "talking ‘bout."
Senior forward Willis put away the Tigers' initial goal moments after Atkins, then, using that momentum, scored again a few minutes later. Her third goal came in the next half with 10 minutes remaining, after she psyched out a Pacer defender with quick feet and a carefully placed kick.
"She's got great footwork. She's relentless," said Newport coach Jonathan Hamel. "Willis is everything a coach could hope for."
Alyssa Fulton scored Newport's other two goals, which included the team's last which came midway through the second--a boomer she let sail from the top of the box.
The Pacers' first half was more impressive than their second, as they commanded the midfield and disrupted many promising Tiger charges by getting the ball out wide. "We've got to read the play better," said Arsenault. "There are some gaps to fill ... back to basics."
It was the opposite for the Tigers, who looked much better after the break, demonstrating greater control and endurance. "We did much better in the second half," said Hamel. "It wasn't perfect, but our forwards and strikers did a better job getting by the defenders."
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.