The Elkins girls’ soccer team beat Sharpstown 9-0 last Thursday at Elkins High School in the first round of the playoffs.
The Knights improved their record to 17-0 and maintained their unscored upon streak. They advance to meet Port Neches Groves.
The Knights scored their first goal in the 14th minute as Nikki Freker shot it past the Sharpstown goalie for a 1-0 lead. Grace Snyder scored the next two goals as the Knights took a 3-0 halftime lead.
Snyder scored in the 41st minute of the second half to make it 4-0. Freker got her second goal in the 54th minute and the rout was on. Mollie Hickel scored in the 66th minute with a 30-yard blast from midfield. “That was a big banger. I didn’t think it was going to go in. I thought it would be wide right, but it went in,” Hickel said.
Snyder then scored her fourth goal in the 71st minute. Snyder, a junior, is a midfielder who likes to attack the goal.
“I really like scoring goals,” Snyder said. “I am really excited we made it past the first round. We haven’t made it past the second round in past years, so we need to really focus on the game coming up. It’s going to be a tough game, but I think we have what it takes to win it.”
Sara Faraone, who injured her knee in the last game and was sporting a new knee brace, convinced Coach Kristen Adams to give her a few minutes of playing time at the end of the game, and she took advantage of the opportunity and scored two goals in the final seven minutes to make the final score 9-0.
Coach Adams is in her first year as varsity coach at Elkins. She was the Elkins junior varsity coach from 2013 to 2017.
“We have very strong midfielders and we like to control the middle and maintain possession while attacking on the sides. Our players have been playing soccer for many years on school and club teams and they just know how to handle the ball,” Adams said.
The Knights have relied on senior leadership this season.
“We are led by our seven senior players and our junior goalie. Lauryn Weller is our captain and holding center midfielder who controls the middle, so we can play our game. Sarah Faraone is our left forward and leads the team in goals scored. Josie Henry is our offensive center midfielder and sets our offensive pace. Jessica Neal is our right midfielder and her crosses set up our forwards to score. Katarina Shanar is our left back and she shuts down our opponent’s forwards. Leslie Braddick is our center back and she controls our defense, keeping other teams from scoring. Mollie Hickel is our final senior and plays anywhere we need her to make sure our team is successful. Alyssa Zamora is our goalie who with her defense has kept our opponents from scoring throughout the season,” Adams said.
Zamora sometimes feels like the loneliest player on the field as most of the action is at the other end of the pitch.
“I did touch the ball a few times tonight, but Sharpstown had no shots on goal,” Zamora said. “We have a very experienced team, so if the other team does attack, we will be ready for them.”
Despite this season’s success, the seven seniors will be hanging up their cleats when the season ends.
“All our seniors are going to college to pursue careers in medicine, so they are focusing on their academic futures and will not be playing college soccer,” Adams said.
Perfection in any sport is rarely attained, and Adams is rightly proud of her team. “I am so proud of our entire team for their hard work and dedication this year,” Adams said. “A perfect season is an incredible thing and it is due to their efforts and heart that we enter the playoffs as a strong team, ready to compete with anyone.”