Emily Riggins, Olivia Perez lead St. Anthony's balanced offense in win over St. John the Baptist
The Friars came out firing on Wednesday afternoon.
With four players finding the back of the net in the first half and seven getting goals overall, the St. Anthony’s girls soccer team scored early and often en route to an 8-1 victory over St. John the Baptist in a CHSAA matchup.
"We always want to come out with a bang," said junior midfielder Emily Riggins, who finished with a goal and two assists. "We try to start out strong so that it’s not a down-to-the-wire game because those are always very stressful."
Riggins opened the scoring for the Friars nearly eight minutes into the game, taking a pass from Silvana Bartolotta and toeing the offsides line. The early goal set the tone for St. Anthony’s (4-0) and, less than six minutes later, Ava Nielsen padded the lead, scoring off an assist from Riggins.
Buoyed by the cushion, St. Anthony’s brought pressure throughout the first half, controlling tempo and moving the ball quickly.
"We have a lot of technical players here, and that’s key for me when you’re playing at St. Anthony’s," coach Sue Alber said. "I want to keep the ball, I want to keep possession and get it around other teams, whether it’s through the width or down the middle."
The strong possession allowed the Friars to cash in on a handful of first-half opportunities, including a corner kick with 23:06 remaining that set up Olivia Perez’s first of two goals. Ashley Kozlowski rounded out the scoring with 4:27 left in the half, giving St. Anthony’s a 4-0 lead heading into the break.
"We’re very confident," said Perez, who also added an assist in the win. "It’s not just relying on one person, with us anyone can score. It’s amazing how everyone can finish the ball."
St. Anthony’s didn’t slow down in the second half.
Samantha D’Angelo made it 5-0 with 35:21 left, and although Amanda Watson got St. John the Baptist (0-2-1) on the board nearly four minutes later, the Friars continued to push down the stretch.
Perez notched her second goal with just under 30 minutes remaining, on an assist from Nielsen, and Daniela Monzon and Tess Jablonowski wrapped up the offensive outburst.
"It shows the kind of depth we have on this team," Alber said. "It’s nice to see everyone get a chance to play and get on the score sheet."
Now, the Friars turn their attention to Saturday’s game against Kellenberg, as they look to stay undefeated in a rematch of last year’s league championship.
"We want to play our game," Riggins said. "We want to keep the momentum that we have and keep going."