Hubbard falls to South Range, 5-1
HUBBARD — It’s difficult enough to defend against a team with a dynamic and versatile offense, especially when said team can score from distance.
South Range’s Hannah Ritchie scored four goals Monday night, including three from 20+ yards away, and showed precision on set pieces as the Raiders earned a 5-1 victory on the road against Hubbard.
“I always try to go upper 90 degrees, wherever the keeper is not at, I choose to go there,” Ritchie said. “She was shorter, so always go higher.
“(Hitting the first one) for sure gave me momentum, it gave the team momentum as well, to just kept on wanting to score and score.”
Following the first goal at the 24:13 mark in the first half, junior Gabby Lamparty joined the scoring party, making it 2-0 in favor of the road Raiders before halftime.
Coming off a season where South Range progressed all the way into the Elite 8, the bar is set high, but setting it higher always remains a focus.
“Our chemistry is really good, the way we talk to each other is very positive, so with that our movement off the ball is a lot better,” Lamparty said. “Communication is definitely key. If your communication is off, you don’t really sync very well, and our runs are off, our timing is off, so communication helps the flow of the game.”
Lamparty found Ritchie in front of the Hubbard net early in the second half, increasing the lead to three. Not long after, Ritchie showed her accuracy again, blasting and netting another free kick, this time from over 30 yards out.
On a career-high four goal evening for Ritchie, South Range was able to enter in all 21 players that traveled and they earned meaningful minutes with the absence of a junior varsity squad.
“We still have a lot of our starters back, with a lot of the girls that made it to the Elite 8, so we’re experienced with the younger girls, the subbing has been crazy, I’ve got girls playing three positions a game,” South Range coach Kelsey Malenic explained. “We’ve changed our formation every game, our lineup every game, so we’re just playing all over the place.
“My sophomore class, a lot of them got some good minutes last year, lettered last year as freshman, and it shows because they got the time. When we got up in the games, where we had a high score, and they were able to get in, they definitely got the experience.”
The Raiders (2-1) outshot Hubbard 7-2, with Eagles captain Marysa Chuey finding the scoreboard late to break the clean sheet. South Range sophomore Kylie Crank patrolled in between the bars during the first half, posting a pair of saves.
Hubbard’s Allie Flowers discovered 25 minutes before the match that she’d be making her first career varsity start at keeper and recorded two saves, but had the difficult task of defending against a proficient South Range offense.
“When a kid can put something on that accurate, the only thing you can have, is that you have to have a top-shelf, incredibly strong keeper, and tonight was Allie’s first game. I thought she did really well,” Eagles coach Josh MacMillian said. “In the seven years I’ve been in girl’s soccer, whether it’s been Boardman or here, I don’t know if I would have had a goalie that would have saved any of those set pieces (Ritchie) had.
“Overall, I just think they’re not defendable, they were that good.”
When it boils down to it, being diverse on the attack is key.
“It makes us dangerous for sure,” Ritchie said. “Because, shots from that distance, it could be on the shooter, it could be on the follow-ups, it makes us so dangerous in the middle.”
“We work hard, it’s definitely showing on the field, I think we’re going to go far,” Ritchie added.