(HCC Sports Information)
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Hutchinson Community College freshman goalkeeper Eunice Figueroa saw a little of everything on Friday against Western Nebraska in a rematch of a 2010 NJCAA District B semifinal.
Figueroa had a season-high three saves and she also had to leave the game for a few minutes after being shaken up when making a play on a ball. Figueroa also made program history by becoming the first Lady Dragon goalkeeper to record an assist as Hutchinson rolled past Western Nebraska 9-0 on Friday afternoon.
The historic tally came in the second half with HCC already leading 5-0. Figueroa fielded a ball and quickly punted it away. The ball took a high hop and was misplayed by a WNCC player. Sophomore Madison Joyce did the rest by dribbling in and scoring in the 61st minute, her second goal of the game and sixth of the season.
“The shot, I got the ball and Sammy was yelling ‘punt it quickly, punt it quickly,’ so I did,” Figueroa said. “Madison got to the ball and scored. I was wondering if that was an assist.”
The victory capped off a trying week for the Lady Dragons (5-2 overall). The win over Western Nebraska was the fifth game played in nine days. On top of an 11-hour bus trip to Scottsbluff, the fact that two forfeit losses from earlier in the week which stopped three significant win or unbeaten streaks were hanging over their heads.
But Hutchinson scored just 55 seconds into the game and led 3-0 in the 26th minute. The Lady Dragons finished off WNCC with a six-goal second half.
“We needed to get this win and get all of that behind us,” HCC head coach Sammy Lane said of all the off-field distractions over the last 48 hours. “If we would have lost, it would have been asked if the forfeits were affecting the team.
“The girls said ‘let’s move on and play.’ It’s a new season for us now.”
Joyce and sophomore Pearl Slattery led the Lady Dragons offensively with five-point games, each scoring two goals and an assist. All-American Alicia Robinson had a goal and two assists. Sophomore Ashley Burnett had her first career multi-assist game with two helpers. Seven different HCC players scored goals.
The Lady Dragons dominated play, outshooting Western Nebraska (2-3) 23-8. HCC netted 9 of 15 shots on goal against Cougar goalkeeper Bailey Wenz.
Lane said the Lady Dragons had a tough time with the thick, long grass of Western Nebraska’s home field.
“The first 45 seconds we were just awful,” Lane said. “We mis-kicked it three times before Madison just took it and finished. That helped settle us down. The first half was abysmal.”
Slattery made it 2-0 with her sixth goal of the season. She headed in a Robinson cornerkick in the seventh minute. Freshman Sydney Armstrong scored in the 26th minute on a Logan Shupe assist for a 3-0 first-half lead.
Hutchinson scored its six-second half goals over a 15-minute stretch of the second half.
Freshman Melissa Hetherington scored her team-high 13th goal of the season from a Robinson assist in the 55th minute. Slattery scored her second of the game and ninth of the season after heading in a Joyce pass in the 57th minute.
Joyce and Figueroa hooked up in the 61st minute for a 6-0 lead. Robinson scored her fourth of the season on a direct free kick in the 63rd minute. Sophomore Polly New and freshman Shelbi Otte rounded out the scoring in the 65th and 70th minute, respectively.
“We really picked up the intensity and the pace in the second half,” Lane said. “We challenged them at halftime. We looked like the Hutch team that we were accustomed to seeing in the second half. We scored some high-level highlight goals in the second half.”
The Lady Dragons will play host to Garden City at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the USD 308 Athletic Complex.
GAME NOTES – This is Hutchinson’s 96th team victory in program history. … HCC is now 3-0 vs. Western Nebraska. … HCC has not allowed a goal in the last six games, a streak of 565 minutes. … Alicia Robinson is now alone in third on the career assist list with 25, third in career multi-assist games with six, ninth in career points with 57 and 11th in career goals (16). … Pearl Slattery is now 10th in career points with 54, tied for 10th in goals scored with 17. … Madison Joyce is now tied for eighth in career goals with 18 and is tied for 12th in career points with 49. … Joyce and Slattery are now tied for fourth in career multi-goal games with 4. … It was Ashley Burnett’s third career game-winning assist. .. Melissa Hetherington is now seventh on the freshman goals list with 13.