FPD advances with strong second half

Unbeaten FPD had a bit of a battle on its hands against Trinity Christian during the first half of Friday’s GISA Class AAA quarterfinal soccer match, but the Lady Vikings pulled away to an 8-0 victory and a spot in Thursday’s semifinals.

Despite not being able to get off a shot in the first half, Trinity Christian (13-6) allowed just one goal prior to halftime before succumbing to a barrage of goals early in the second half.

Kendall Goodman, Rebecca Miller, and Kelsey Black all had two goals in the second half, as FPD’s constant pressure on goal led to a total of 35 shots.

FPD head coach Joshua Trieste thought his team was fine at the half despite only having the one-goal lead.

“When I saw we had 15 shots on goal and they didn’t have any, I knew we were fine,” Trieste said. “I asked our midfielders, Melissa Hash and Catherine Harris, to get more aggressive, and they responded well. I thought that got us into the game a little better, and our three strikers on the field got better looks in the second half. I give Trinity Christian a lot of credit the way they were able to stop us in the first half.”

The first half featured an hour-long delay because of lightning in the area.

The only goal of the first half came from Taylor Duggan on a long corner shot, as the Lady Crusaders dropped nine girls into coverage to stop the FPD scoring attack.

The Lady Vikings quickly took away any doubt about who would win this game early in the second half, as Goodman scored in the 43rd minute, followed by Black and Miller in the ensuing four minutes.

FPD (21-0) controlled the ball most of the second half and allowed only two shots on goal.

Harris, a junior, said the key to the game was the constant pressure FPD was able to put on Trinity.

“It was really crowded for us to try and get our strikers the ball,” Harris said. “Coach wanted us to be aggressive and push the ball forward and give them opportunities, and we were able to do that. We have so many different people who can score that we are really difficult to defend if we do our job in the middle of the field.”

Hash, a starter as an eighth grader on last year’s runner-up team, said she is excited to get back to the Final Four.

“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to last year, and that has driven us this year,” Hash said. “I am sure we will have some great practices next week, and the intensity level will go way up. It is nice being undefeated, but we want to be back in the championship game.”

Trinity Christian head coach Aaron George said he was pleased about his team’s first half, but knew it would be tough to sustain the effort for a full 80 minutes.

“We played as well as we could play in the first half,” George said. “But FPD is so good and has so many scorers. It is an accomplishment to hold them down for a half. We still have to take another big step up to get to the caliber of FPD, but we will continue to work to get there.”