I-L's Madelyn Edgar and MA's Alexandra Cotter stand shoulder to shoulder during the first half of the Lakers' 5-0 win on Homecoming in Meredith. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 23, 2013MEREDITH – Another hat trick from sophomore Caitlin Rotonnelli got Inter-Lakes High School off to a good start in the opening game of Homecoming, as the girls' soccer team pulled away in the second half for a 5-0 victory over Moultonborough Academy on Sept. 20.
Rotonnelli scored three goals for her fifth hat trick in seven games this season, while Emelia Pendergast and Sarah Dunlap also found the back of the net for the Lakers (5-2 entering this week). It was a big win for I-L, as the squad was fresh off a tough 6-3 loss on the road at White Mountains just one day earlier.
"We needed it," admitted Rotonnelli of the victory. "I know some heads were down yesterday so it was important to come right back out and get a win."
I-L third-year coach Steve Jordan agreed.
"Yesterday was an eye-opener," he began. "The girls know they don't want to have a repeat of that so this was a good step in the right direction."
The loss was just the second of the season for MA, as the Panthers fell to 6-2. Entering the game, the squad had allowed just six goals in seven games this year.
"Inter-Lakes is a talented and well-coached club for sure," said MA coach Jeff Husmann. "We tried to go out there and set the tone in the first five minutes but you could just see the body language – we were a little flat."
Rotonnelli got the Lakers on the board with 13:02 left in the first half, as she took a nice feed from Pendergast and beat MA goalkeeper Steph Winsor up high for a 1-0 lead.
Rotonnelli made it 2-0 with just 1:58 left before halftime, as a pass from Kaylee Converse sprung the speedy forward, and she buried the opportunity to give the hosts the two-goal cushion at halftime.
"Once the girls got a couple in the net, they started to get that confidence back," said Jordan.
MA responded in the beginning of the second half however, with senior Morgan Fuller nearly cutting the deficit in half just 1:15 into the frame. Fuller broke through the I-L defense, and her shot at full speed was just snatched away by Laker keeper Reilly Donovan.
The Panthers would sustain some pressure for the early portion of the second half, with freshman Maddy Richardson and junior Kelsey Coppinger aiding the attack.
"The girls weathered that early storm from (Inter-Lakes) and we nearly put that one in early in the half," said Husmann of Fuller's chance. "A 2-1 game is a whole different story but then they came back and scored a tough one for us."
The Lakers indeed added a big insurance goal with 23:10 left, as Pendergast's free kick from 35 yards out was perfectly placed into the upper corner of the net for a beautiful goal to make it 3-0.
"We had to start taking a few chances at that point and we were cheating forward and got caught for a foul and they converted the kick," Husmann admitted.
Rotonnelli made it 4-0 with 12:20 left on an assist from Chloe Davis, while Dunlap closed out the scoring in the waning moments when she took a feed from Charlotte Morrow to make it 5-0.
"Our defense really did an incredible job though," lauded Rotonnelli. "We couldn't have done it without them today."
The teams meet one more time on Saturday at MA's Homecoming, with the contest scheduled for 10 a.m.