OVERLAND PARK – Playing perhaps their most complete half of soccer this season, the No. 8-ranked Hutchinson Community College women’s soccer team handed Johnson County a home loss that program has hardly ever endured on Friday afternoon.
Using precision passing and scintillating pace, the Lady Dragons stung Johnson County for four first-half goals and moved a step closer to defending its Jayhawk Conference championship with a 4-0 victory over the Cavaliers at the Johnson County Soccer Field.
Sophomores Pearl Slattery and Alicia Robinson scored two goals and five points each to lead the Lady Dragons (12-2, 9-1 Jayhawk West), who surged ahead of the Cavaliers into a tie for first place in the Jayhawk Conference with Butler, a 5-0 winner at Barton on Friday.
Hutchinson has two conference matches remaining at Cowley next Wednesday and at Coffeyville next Thursday. Butler also has two league games remaining.
Going with a steady 15 mph wind in the first half, the Lady Dragons were able to produce numerous scoring opportunities. In the first half alone, HCC out-shot the Cavaliers 16-1, putting nine on goal.
“I thought the girls played well today,” HCC head coach Sammy Lane said. “We expended a lot of energy on Sunday (against Butler) and it was a heavy field and we had heavy legs. It was a different game today because we didn’t have the same adrenaline or emotion.
“It had a different feel to it. I was pleased with how the girls played because what happened to the girls on Sunday.”
The Lady Dragons got on the board first in the seventh minute. Freshman Melissa Hetherington sent in a cross from the right side that Slattery headed past Johnson goalkeeper Emma Crenshaw into the goal for her 17th goal of the season and it gave HCC a 1-0 lead.
HCC has scored first in 13 of 14 games this season.
Slattery got her second of the game and 18th of the season 13 minutes later. Crenshaw couldn’t corral a Robinson corner kick and the ball fell right onto the foot of Slattery, who poked it in for a 2-0 lead in the 20th minute.
Four minutes later, Robinson scored her ninth goal of the season, making several nifty moves in the open field and drilled a shot from close to 30 yards out that Crenshaw was unable to make the save on and Hutchinson led 3-0 in the 24th minute.
Johnson County changed goalkeepers at that point.
Hutchinson continued to apply pressure and win nearly every 50-50 ball in the midfield throughout the remainder of the first half.
Slattery bid for a hat trick in the 40th minute, but her shot banged off the right post and Robinson netted her 10th of the season for a stunning 4-0 Lady Dragon lead.
“I didn’t think it would be 4-nil and I really didn’t think it would be 4-nil with five minutes to go before halftime,” Lane said. “When we got the first goal, I was thinking let’s get the second goal to give us some cushion. Getting the early goals gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the experience.”
The Lady Dragons out-shot Johnson County 19-9 for the game.
Freshman goalkeeper Eunice Figueroa had a season-high three saves and became the fifth HCC keeper to win 10 games in a single season. Figueroa is now 10-1.
With their five-point games, both Slattery and Robinson move into the Lady Dragon career Top 5 in points with 78. The sophomore duo moves last Chelsea Myers (2008-09).
The Lady Dragons will meet Cowley at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Arkansas City.
GAME NOTES – HCC is now 4-7-1 all-time vs. Johnson County, but is 4-2-1 in their last seven meetings. … Pearl Slattery moves into fourth place in career goals with 27. She had her fourth game-winning goal of her career and season. He is in a nine-way tie for fourth on the career list and is fourth on the season list. Slattery’s 18 goals this season rank seventh and her 48 points are sixth. … Alicia Robinson upped her career assist record to 34 and her single-season assist record to 19. … Melissa Hetherington moves one point away from Stephanie Franz’s single-season point record of 60.