Sacred Heart soccer tames Dragons 3-1 in key FAA battle

Convent of the Sacred Heart's Erin Cleary moves the ball down the field during a recent game. — Sacred Heart athletic department photo

Convent of the Sacred Heart’s Erin Cleary moves the ball down the field during a recent game. — Sacred Heart athletic department photo

The Convent of the Sacred Heart soccer team ended its Fairchester Athletic Association season in grand fashion Monday afternoon, upending Greens Farms Academy 3-1.

“The second half we turned it on,” CSH head coach Logan Condon said. “I wanted them to keep going and do what they’ve been doing. Eventually Greens Farms would wear down and we would get a break somewhere. We did all right and it was a definite learning experience for the girls. Some times you keep on pushing and pushing and nothing is breaking, but finally you get that break and how rewarding that feels.”

With the victory, the Tigers close out the FAA portion of its schedule with a 7-1 record.

“Our first goal was to do as good as well as we could in the FAA,” Condon said. “To lose only once in the FAA is fantastic. It’s good because it gives us to build off of. The girls now know that we can accomplish this, so we can keep going.”

“This game helped us with our FAA ranking, so it was really important,” Grace Paletta said. “It was great to see us pull together in the end of the game to get the victory. Momentum is really huge for us and I think this victory will do nothing but help us get better.”

Although Sacred Heart finished with the momentum, it was Greens Farms that started things off on the right foot. The Tigers were unable to get into a groove and Greens Farms was able to capitalize with an early goal four minutes into the contest.

With the Dragons leading the Tigers 1-0 in the 36th minute, it was Sacred Heart that came back in a quick strike.

Two minutes after Greens Farms took the lead, Erin Cleary got the ball down the left-hand flank. She then cut in past the defenders on the top of the 18 and shot it far post past the GFA keeper to knot the game at 1-1.

“It was good and rewarding for us to get that goal,” Condon said. “It was good to get off the block because we had a tough match Saturday where we were blanked. To get that first goal is always good to get the confidence up a little bit.”

The second half brought on a change for the Tigers. Getting more aggressive with the ball and having crisp passes land on the feet of teammates, Sacred Heart was able to dictate play throughout the half.

“In the second half we started finding feet,” Condon said. “We got more into our game and settled down. We didn’t just kick the ball. It frustrates me to no end when it’s glorified kickball, but we started to play a little better soccer, made better runs and settle down a little bit.”

With 22:40 to play in the game, Grace Paletta sprinted down the field and passed a perfectly-placed ball to Tracey Hagan. However Hagan’s kick sailed just wide of the net.

Five minutes later, CSH was able to grab the lead. With 17:13 to play, Paletta had good look at the net and unloaded the ball towards the net. The shot bounced off the GFA goalie and right onto the foot of Hagan on the opposite corner of the net.

Hagan calmly took the rebound, had an open look at the net and booted the ball for the goal and 2-1 lead.

“This felt great,” Paletta said. “At the half it was 1-1 and stressful, but we were able to pick it up in the second half and it was great. We were pushing the defense more and chasing every ball. We couldn’t give up and had to keep on pushing to get the goal.”

With Sacred Heart carrying the momentum, they were able to strike again with 7:24 to play. While attacking the Greens Farm defense, Erin Cleary gained control of the ball and converted on a midair pass to Kaitlyn Adamini. Adamini settled the ball down and drilled the ball into the back of the net for the 3-1 advantage.

Sacred Heart finished the game with 23 shots on net, while the Dragons added eight shots. Charlie Clarke was stellar between the pipes for the Tigers, as she stopped eight shots on the day.

Not only did the victory help the Tigers finish with only one loss in the FAA, but it secured the school’s best conference record in over a decade.

“I’m so proud of our girls for this accomplishment,” Condon said. “It’s a testament to their hard work and team-first mentality. They truly support and want to see each other succeed.”

To get ready for the FAA tournament, Condon’s team needs to consistently work hard.

“We’ve seen a lot of the competition and now we have a goal ahead of us,” Condon said. “We lost our only game in the league to GA and we know what they are capable of. We need to just work hard and gear up for that.”

Although the FAA tournament isn’t slated to begin for a little under two weeks, that doesn’t mean that Sacred Heart will be taking a break until the tourney starts.

“We are moving into playing WNEPSSA schools and that will help us make a name for ourselves,” Condon said. “The first goal is to do as well as you can in the league and then it’s to showcase your talent and abilities on the New England scale.”

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