CRYSTAL LAKE – Burlington Central coach Jessica Arneson had a simple goal for the Rockets in their match against Crystal Lake South on Tuesday: Worry about yourselves and not the opponent.
Arneson thought Central became too preoccupied with two players in the Rockets’ 1-0 loss to Richmond-Burton on Thursday and wanted her team to focus on themselves Tuesday.
Message received. The Rockets scored early and often against the Gators with three goals in the first 10 minutes on their way to a 10-0 Fox Valley Conference win.
“Our goal was to come out and play intense like we should be,” Central senior Ava Elders said. “Put it away.”
Central (7-4-1, 4-0-1 FVC) took possession of the ball right from the start and created chances by being aggressive on South’s third of the pitch. Haley Lindquist showed off that aggressiveness when she moved the ball to the top of the box and scored on a shot with 36:04 left in the first half.
Elders soon scored after she maneuvered the ball inside the Gators’ box and scored to make it 2-0 with 33:12 left. Eva Boer added Central’s third goal on a penalty kick less than two minutes later.
GOAL: Ava Elders maneuvers through the box and scores to give @rocketsoccerchs a 2-0 lead with 33:12 left in the first half. pic.twitter.com/SgeCF3EyNz— Michal Dwojak (@mdwojak94) April 25, 2023
The Rockets led 6-0 at halftime with 13 shots on goals. Lindquist and Elders each finished the match with hat tricks, while Boer and Sydney Batts each scored two goals.
Elders thought the Rockets built momentum off each early goal and proved they can score once they stick to their game plan.
“It’s important to know that because it creates that standard in those harder games,” Elders said. “It lets us know we’re capable of it.”
Arenson was proud of the way her players responded to her challenge. Central ended the match with 17 shots on goal, while the Gators put together five shots on goal against keeper Mackenzie Lorkowski.
“Our goal was to come out and play intense like we should be. Put it away.”— Ava Elders, Burlington Central senior
“The fact that we can have multiple players, I know that we had a bunch that got two and a couple that got three (goals), that means we have lots of offensive opportunities, lots of offensive avenues, which will need to be used later in the season,” Arneson said.
South (1-7-1, 0-4-1) faced an uphill battle against Central on Tuesday after playing to a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Dundee-Crown on Monday. The Gators had only 11 of their 16 players available Tuesday, which led to tired legs that couldn’t keep up with the Rockets’ urgent attack.
Gators coach Kyle McCaughn didn’t make excuses for his team despite the obstacles.
“You’re chasing, especially when you’re playing a team of that quality,” McCaughn said. “They have a lot of good soccer players. That’s a very good team. We tried to play the best we could.”
South will host crosstown rival Crystal Lake Central on Thursday, while Burlington Central will host Jacobs the same day.
The Rockets sit a point behind the Crystal Lake Central for the top of the FVC standings after Tuesday’s action. The two meet May 2.
Elders hopes the Rockets can use what they learned against the Gators heading into the final stretch of the season.
“We just want to push and make sure we continue with that intensity,” Elders said. “Get stronger each game and play more like as a team instead of just kicking, making sure we’re connecting on all our passes and putting it away.”