Mason clinched the outright CAAC Gold girls soccer title, and wasted no time doing it, scoring less than a minute in and rolling to an impressive 7-0 win over Eaton Rapids on Monday night.
Whitney Luks scored two goals and Hannah Darmofal, Catie Spalding, Kira Momberg, Brooke Beaune and Elaine Burleson had one each for the Bulldogs (6-2-2, 5-0 CAAC Gold), who have a two-game lead on the rest of the Gold with one league game remaining.
Almost as important to the Bulldogs as the win was their newfound scoring touch. Mason has struggled up top since losing forward Kali Thompson for the season to a knee injury on April 19, but may have turned a corner in this game.
“Our offense definitely clicked,” Mason coach Christie Hursey said. “We have not scored a lot in any game, but it was really nice to see some of the different things that were happening and the teamwork and the chemistry shine.”
Luks opened the scoring just 53 seconds into the game with a left-footed shot from the left-wing side of the Greyhound box, assisted by Burleson.
“We had some players who were intimidated at first,” Eaton Rapids coach Jason Zeller said. “They have a good team, and you can’t start out the way we did and have players be intimidated, especially our younger ones.”
Darmofal then scored from a cross by Beaune and Spalding had a tap-in goal on a rebound of a shot by Momberg to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead at the half.
Nitasha Cooper had a rough time in goal for Eaton Rapids (5-3, 4-2), making several acrobatic, diving saves but watching helpless as two of the rebounds were turned in for easy Mason goals.
Injuries hit the Greyhound back line hard, with starting defenders Tory Hovey and Taylor Arnett both leaving the game in the first half.
“That’s something that we have to learn to deal with and adjust to,” Zeller said. “In the second half, we had to start moving some people around, and they’re too good to do that against.”
Luks started the second half just as she had the first, scoring early, with a first-time finish of a pass from Beaune 1:27 after the break. Momberg scored from a sharp angle assisted by Caitlyn Ribera halfway through the second and Beaune and Burleson completed the rout with goals in the final 6:09.
“We have been working on our offense pretty much non-stop in every single practice, trying to make sure that we have chemistry, we make runs and we know what we’re doing,” Hursey said. “It was really nice to see some of that work displayed.”