MORGANTOWN – For nearly 24 minutes, Tuesday’s girls’ soccer game between Morgantown and University appeared to be a close contest.
The Mohigans kept firing shot after shot at the UHS net only to be turned away against a tough Hawks’ defense.
But then something clicked for MHS (6-0-1) as it scored three goals in roughly six minutes on its way to a 7-0 victory.
“It’s pretty difficult (to score) when you pack the box like that,” MHS head coach Brianna Frontuto said of the UHS defense that featured as many as all 11 players inside of the 18-yard-line penalty box. “We kind of expected that. We worked a lot this week on shooting outside the box. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we didn’t execute that part of our game, but we still found ways to score. I’m proud of the girls for being able to do that regardless of the way that the final third was set up for them.”
Morgantown finished with 34 shots in the contest but finally found the net with 16:24 left in the first half when Gracie Brown was able to redirect a pass from Nora Miller into the lower right-hand corner for a 1-0 lead.
The Mohigans didn’t wait long to put home their second goal as Ariana Borneo dribbled up the left side and played a beautiful cross to Lilly Staples who was able to sneak the ball past the diving UHS goalkeeper.
“I saw an open person in the box, and I think everyone on this team has chemistry,” Borneo said. “I kind of knew (Staples) would be there for me. So, I trusted my teammate.”
Borneo used her speed and ball handling from the MHS backline to finish with two assists and one goal in the contest.
That performance is something that Frontuto said she expects from not only Borneo but several of the MHS players.
“(Borneo) is versatile in any position,” Frontuto said. “She’s a well-rounded player and is a great player to have.”
Morgantown finished up its first-half scoring when Miller scored off a shot that rebounded off the keeper when Brown shot from close range.
UHS head coach Graham Peace said the Mohigans forced the Hawks (4-4-2) to play a defensive contest.
“We hung in there for 20 minutes,” Peace said. “(MHS) is obviously a superb soccer team. I think a big difference between them and us is they understand the game really well and we’re still learning the game. This was a great learning experience for us. I was proud of the way our team hung in there and we battled hard to the end.”
UHS goalkeeper Emily Monti finished with 14 saves in the contest and Peace said he was happy with her performance along with center defenders Chole Downs and Abby Rogers.
“We wanted to try to get up and attack, but (MHS) is just so good that we couldn’t get the ball and attack. So, we ended up dropping in deep, but it wasn’t our initial strategy.”
Morgantown finished up the scoring with four goals in the second half as Staples tucked a header inside the back post off a corner kick from Borneo with 22:28 left in the contest.
Vanja Mueller snuck a goal into the lower-left corner off a pass from Gabbie Brown to make it 5-0. Gracie Brown added a penalty kick for a 6-0 lead and then Borneo found the net when she corralled a loose ball at the top of the box and dribbled through traffic for the final score.
University returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Oak Glen at 11 a.m. as the Hawks will celebrate their seniors.
Camdyn Smith recorded a shutout in goal for Morgantown as she did not have any saves in the contest and the Hawks did not record a shot. The Mohigans return to action on Saturday when they host Philip Barbour at 10 a.m.
By ERIC HERTER