Academic Magnet girls roll to spot in Lower State soccer final
With final exams coming up, Academic Magnet keeper Chris Sacha could have easily broken out her textbooks and study notes during her team’s 9-0 blowout win over Barnwell in the Class AA girls soccer Lower State semifinal.
Sacha had very little else to do as she watched the first half, often with arms crossed, as her teammates dominated the action on the other of the field. Ninety-five percent of the first half was played within 30 yards of Barnwell’s goal and the Raptors peppered Barnwell keeper Madison Harper with five goals.
Senior Kallie Peurifoy scored a goal and had three assists in the first half while Jesse Dooley scored four goals, two in each half. Maddy Carens and Becca Bosch also scored in the first half.
“We have things we want to focus on in every match, and today was aggressive play,” said coach Anna Merriman, whose team has outscored two playoff opponents, 20-0. “We wanted to be aggressive from the start and play with energy. There is always something we can work on. It might be moving the ball, or we might have to work on communication. We always strive to improve in some area every time we play.”
After missing on a few scoring chances early, the Raptors scored three goals in a three-minute span. Peurifoy and Carens combined on two goals in a 90-second span, with Peurifoy assisting on Carens’ goal and Carens aiding Peurifoy on the next.
Bosch’s header two minutes later made it 3-0, and then Peurifoy assisted on Dooley’s two scores.
The second half was full of substitutions but with similar results. Dooley added her third goal just three minutes into the second period for a 6-0 lead and Leslie Thelan scored two minutes later. Dooley’s fourth and final goal came a minute after Thelan’s score for an 8-0 advantage.
Academic Magnet’s final goal came on a shot by Carens that deflected off the leg of a Barnwell defender and rolled into the net.
Academic Magnet (21-3) will play for the lower state title on Monday night against region rival Bishop England. The Raptors beat Bishop England twice this season, both in close matches, including one in penalty kicks.
Merriman knows that Sacha, and the defense, will get more action than she has in the first two playoff outings.
“We’ve had a lot of these games, unfortunately, so there are days where they really don’t have to do that much,” said Merriman. “But we also have had some very tight games and they know they have to step up. From here on out, they will have to be ready to play well.”