Santa Clarita, CA- Despite playing "prettier" soccer in the first half, the second half proved to be the difference on the scoreboard for Hope International on Thursday as they beat Bethany (KS) 4-0 in a neutral site affair at the Master's. Four different Royals scored in the second half. Freshman Tara McNaught had a big day with a goal and two assists.
Hope International set the tempo of the first half from the very beginning as they show off their solid team ball movement and maintained procession for the better part of the opening forty-five minutes.
After moving the ball up to the front third, the Royals (4-0) had a little trouble finishing. They took nine first half shots with six on goal but could not find the back of the net.
Freshman Cindy Cisneros opened the shooting with a shot on goal eight and half minutes into the half.
Freshman Brooke Williams took the next two shots with one on goal.
But the score remained tied 0-0 into the halftime break.
That tie however changed in a big way seconds into the second half. Just 42 seconds into the second session, McNaught put forth a little extra effort on a loose ball with the Bethany keeper and ultimately won the ball and found Williams wide open in the middle for the goal. For Williams, the goal was her sixth and turned out to be her fourth game winning goal of the season.
Fourteen minutes later, McNaught's hustle paid off again as she played a ball right to left to the penalty spot for Mullikin. Mullikin chipped the defender in front of her and slipped her shot under the crossbar for 2-0 edge. For Mullikin, it is her first goal in a Royals' uniform.
In the 70th minute, Freshman Grace Kellogg found herself behind the defense of the Swedes (2-1) and after drawing the attention of the keeper played a play back to Stencil running on from the left. Stencil made the score 3-0 with her first collegiate goal.
With the match all but decided, the Royals starting thinking about a bid for a shutout. Sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Pacino kept the stuck out intact with a beautiful save in the 74th minute. Bethany's Tessa Kuhlengel let a shot fly from 25-30 yards out and Pacino laid out to push the shot just over the crossbar. That was one of Pacino's five saves on the day.
With less than five minutes to go in the game, Freshman Stephanie Arce dribbled through the defense and setup McNaught on the left side for her first post high school goal.
The Royals will return to The Master's in Santa Clarita for another neutral site contest against William Jessup on Saturday. Kick-off has been adjusted to 11:00 am.