One just wasn’t enough for St. Anthony’s Francesca Picicci and Sabrina Cristodero. And it didn’t take the dynamic duo much time to prove it.
Picicci and Cristodero each scored two goals in the Friars’ 7-1 home victory against St. John the Baptist Monday in CHSAA girls soccer. Picicci’s goals came less than two minutes apart with Cristodero’s two coming in a 27-second span.
“I was really determined to get in the other goal,” Picicci said. “We really, really needed two goals.”
Said Cristodero: “That was the little extra something in our game. The push we needed.”
Picicci’s first goal came with 18 minutes remaining in the first half off a through ball from Melissa DiMonda. Picicci fielded it on the left side and beat the keeper with a hard ground shot to the right side of the net. With 16:11 remaining in the half, Picicci led a charge down the field off a pass from Cristodero and beat the keeper on a breakaway.
“The combination of the two of them is very dangerous for other teams to handle,” coach Sue Alber said.
The Friars took the 2-0 lead into halftime but it didn’t take them long to build on it. Less than five minutes into the second half, Picicci started a run with a pass to Sam Roth on the left sideline, who found Cristodero. After making a move to juke the goalkeeper, Cristodero finished with a hard shot past a defender and into the net with 36:35 remaining.
The Friars’ scorer quickly added another. Roth fired a shot on net from the left side and Cristodero was there for the rebound goal 27 seconds after scoring her first.
“The first goal motivated me,” Cristodero said, “and then I wanted another one.”
St. Anthony’s (7-0) had another strong defensive effort by the back line of Stephanie Darrell, Katrina Etts, Jenn Bonifazio, Samantha Gordon and Jackie Murphy. Vanessa Cole and Kelly Fogarty split goaltending.
The lone goal for St. John the Baptist (2-3-1) came off a breakaway by Kennedy Kennan with 11:26 remaining.
“It’s unfortunate that we allowed a goal today because we’ve really had a tremendous season,” said Alber about her unit that’s only allowed three goals in nine matches this season.
Sam Squicciarini, Sara McGiff and Brooke LaCava added second-half goals for St. Anthony’s. The Friars’ offense controlled possession with the defense doing its part to get the ball to playmakers like Cristodero and Picicci.
“They’re really fast and really skillful,” Darrell said, “so I just try to get the ball to them as much as possible so they can do their magic up there.”
And with another undefeated start to CHSAA games, the Friars look to take a third straight state championship.
“We definitely have a chance to win again,” Picicci said, “and we’re going to do it.”