Waterloo senior Olivia Boyle, left, and Crestwood junior Alyssa Hallis battle for the ball during Friday night’s match at Waterloo High School.
ATWATER — When Crestwood and Waterloo girls soccer first met on Friday, before lightning put an early stop to the proceedings, the Red Devils couldn’t find the back of the net.
When the two teams returned to Valhalla Tuesday afternoon, Crestwood erupted for four first-half goals en route to a 5-1 win.
The Red Devils turned midfield steals into fast-break opportunities in the blink of an eye. They fired lasers over the keeper.
Crestwood was, quite simply, relentless.
“We practice triangles, quick passes, one touches and through balls and splitting defenders,” Red Devils coach Eric Sway said. “That’s what we work on and you could see what that’s done over the last two months to what we got today and we could have probably had easily 10 goals. Outside of the offsides, and I think three were put in and called offside, so it was relentless and that’s how they’re being trained to play is relentless.”
Taking on a Vikings team that went undefeated in the regular season last year, the Red Devils (1-0-0) were relentless from the start Tuesday.
That included Dakota Rennecker sending a through ball over the top to fellow junior Erin Hallis, who buried her one-on-one opportunity into the lower left corner of the net in the seventh minute.
“In that moment, I tried to get open in space and I know that they can get it to us,” Hallis said. “So I just hope I can get a foot on it, make a little touch and then hit it into the back of the net.”
Less than 10 minutes later, another junior, Taylor Larch, came up with another spell-binding pass, picking a perfect angle to send the ball skittering through a pair of defenders and into the middle of the field for Hallis, who this time found the far right side of the net for a two-goal lead.
“We’re not as physical as we should be, so that’s something we’ve been really working on,” Hallis said. “So when we do win those 50-50 balls and we get a quick pass out to a teammate so they can make it up, we just really are excited about it and hope it leads us to a goal or at least an opportunity.”
Crestwood never stopped attacking.
Two minutes after the Vikings (0-1-0) drew within one, on an Olivia Boyle goal, the Red Devils widened the gap again as Larch fired a 25th-minute liner over the keeper from the right side of the box.
Crestwood added to its lead just before the half when junior Ava Julian pounced on a corner that deflected out to the top of the box.
Midway through the second half, Julian added the Red Devils’ final goal of the night off a beautiful chip of a pass from senior Aspen Baynes.
“With what we do in training, it’s everybody,” Sway said. “It’s not just offense. It’s the defensive backs. I want them pushing up. You saw Delaney [McMahon] coming up, Dakota coming up, Aspen coming up. We’re learning how to do overlaps and then we can get more numbers up. By the time the end of this season comes, you’re going to see a different team than you saw today.”
Not that all that insurance was necessary the way senior Malea Hickin was playing in net, as she made eight saves, six in the second half, including knocking down a pair of tricky top-shelf free kicks from Vikings star Sydney Jackson.
“I was watching where everybody was at, really just trying to play the field,” Hickin said. “Like I could read their feet, kind of see where they were going to kick it for the most part. It’s how I got most of them, but I just kind of went with my gut for the most part with the help of my team.”
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Erin Hallis, Ava Julian, Crestwood soccer catch fire at Waterloo