STERLING – It took Caroline Hazen less than seven minutes to record a hat trick.
The Moline striker tacked on a fourth goal later, assisted on another, and got plenty of help from her friends in Moline’s 9-0 win over Sterling on Tuesday at Roscoe Eades Stadium.
“I really just wanted to come out strong,” she said. “I think coming out in the first five, 10 minutes of the half is super important with our team because we get a lot of goals early on. So just coming out with a lot of energy and shocking the other team, they’re not really ready for that constant forward attack, which I think we brought.”
The three Moline goals in the opening minutes were bookended by three more in the closing minutes, as Isabella Smith scored on a breakaway in the 70th minute to cut the remaining time in half, then scored another moments later. Charlise Martel also scored on a free kick not long after Smith’s first.
Moline also got second-half goals from Vanessa Ramirez in the 52nd minute off a rebound and from Hazen, her fourth of the evening, in the 59th minute.
Hazen got things started with Sterling’s first foray into the Moline end of the field in the sixth minute, with the Maroons’ backline stopping the Warriors attack and sending the ball up to Hazen on the counterattack, with Hazen finishing it off for a 1-0 lead.
She added another goal moments later when Moline got the ball deep into Sterling’s end on the ensuing kickoff and Hazen was able to sneak a shot between the post and the foot of Sterling keeper Jessica White.
Hazen’s third goal came in the seventh minute, again on a breakaway chance.
She added an assist in the 30th minute, setting up Vivian Veto with a cross to make it 4-0.
“I got the ball in the corner and I noticed they were giving me space, so I took my time and set myself up and waited for my teammate to make that run,” Hazen said. “She made a beautiful run, played it into her, easy goal.”
Sterling (1-6, 0-3 Western Big 6) rarely advanced into the attacking third of the field in the first half, not recording a shot on goal until Hailey Walters fired one on Moline keeper Jazmine Cunningham in the 35th minute from 30 yards out, which Cunningham stopped.
Sterling had another chance moments later, but a pass for Chelsey Chatters was too far in front of her to allow her to play the ball and rolled out of bounds for a goal kick.
Sterling also got a flurry of chances, including a corner kick in the closing seconds of the first half, but Veto turned it away.
“We actually have some pretty strong offensive players, and when they play to their strength they can connect pretty well,” Sterling coach Alexandra Miller said. “We saw a couple of chances here. We didn’t test the goalie as much as we would have liked, but that happens sometimes.”
Moline (5-4, 2-1 WB6) in the first half had a 16-2 edge over the Warriors in shots on goal, a 21-2 edge in total shots, and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks. For the game, the Maroons held a 27-2 edge in shots on goal and a 36-2 edge in total shots, with a 15-1 edge in corners.
“We don’t have our whole team here, so that was difficult in the sense that we’re asking girls to play positions they’re not normally in,” Miller said. “Moline took advantage of that, sending all the girls in and they had a pretty solid shot every time. So they found that success, so that was frustrating for us.”
Sterling’s few trips into the Moline end were often turned away by the Maroons’ backline of Smith, Lauren White and Elizabeth Galvin.
“One of the things I said to the girls before we started, the backline specifically, was I needed them to be lights-out,” Moline coach Jonathan Dreasler said. “That means I don’t want any mistakes. I want to make sure they’re talking, communicating, and winning that ball every time in that defensive third. That was a call-out saying, ‘Guys, you have to win everything in your defensive third, no excuses.’”
Sterling’s best scoring chance of the second half came on a Jasmin Capilla run in the 41st minute, which the Moline defense turned away.
White made 17 saves in net for the Golden Warriors.