The Springstead Eagles (13-3-1) pummeled the Hernando Leopards (8-6-2) by an 8-0 margin on a chilly Wednesday night at home. The Red, White, and Blue utilized a four-goal outing from Senior FORW/MF Ava Kanaar to send the Leopards packing early from the Eagles Nest. The officials called the match with 19:12 remaining in regulation once Springstead scored its eighth goal.
Though the visitors came in with a solid record overall, they are now 2-4-1 in their last seven games. The Eagles are 11-1 over their last 12 and have outscored the Purple and Gold 15-0 in their two meetings this year. Springstead Head Coach Sarah Bell noted that the Leopards are always a fun matchup and felt that her squad had “a good energy” on Wednesday. Now, they are preparing for postseason play.
“We are just kind of honing and tweaking for districts,” Coach Bell said. “[We are] getting ready and set up to see what formation we are going to do, who is going to play where. So, just working on that and trying to smooth all the rough edges before we go into our postseason.”
Senior FORW/MF Sidney Anderson opened the night with a bang for the home team. A mere 17 seconds into the contest, Anderson took a pass over the middle and rocketed the ball past Junior GK Brielle Morgan. It would be a long night for the goalkeeper as shot after shot was lobbed her way. Springstead spent the vast majority of the 60-plus minutes of game clock on the Leopards’ side of the field. There would be a handful of possessions and a few potential scoring opportunities for the visitors, but nothing sustained.
After a short lull in the scoring, Kanaar kicked it off in earnest. A few close calls finally gave way to her first goal as she took the ball down the left side of the field for the score 16 minutes into the matchup. She would rifle a second kick past the outstretched arms of the junior goalie with under 11 minutes remaining in the half. Junior FORW/MF Alisha Soults then logged the last score before and the first score after the intermission to give the home team the 5-0 lead. Kanaar secured the hat trick nearly 10 minutes into the second when she took a long pass down the left side of the field, cut between two defenders, was one-on-one with Morgan, and zipped the ball into the net. Her fourth and final goal came minutes later past Morgan’s outstretched arms. The game sealing kick mercifully came when Senior FORW/MF Sarah Frazer slid the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal with 19:12 left on the clock.
“I mean Ava is a phenomenal player,” said Coach Bell. “She is just pure athleticism. We always joke because she goes out here and she is built like such an athlete – so much speed, so much power behind everything she does. So, she is a real asset to the team.”
According to the Eagles’ coach, Kanaar’s four goals bring her to a total of 54 on the season. The senior only needs four more to break the record for most goals scored in the history of Springstead High School. With a handful of regular season tilts and the district tournament on the horizon, Coach Bell feels that Kanaar is poised to accomplish the historic feat when all is said and done.
The Eagles will play at the River Ridge Royal Knights on Monday and conclude their schedule at the Villages Charter Buffaloes on January 18. The Leopards will look to regain a little momentum heading into the final stretch, though they will also have to travel for their late season games. Hernando will face off against the Bishop McLaughlin Catholic Hurricanes on the road on Friday.