BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – Claire Pothitakis scored another hat trick, her third of the season, and Sam Pothitakis threw a shut out in the net as Holy Trinity moved to 6-1 on the year with a 4-0 win over Columbus in a late night affair at South Park Tuesday night.
The game was played in a rare switch putting the girls under the lights as the boys took the pitch first, starting an hour late after a referee failed to show up for the meet and a replacement had to be located.
The Lady Crusaders started knocking on the door early and often with Pothitakis and Nicole Pothitakis launching a couple shots early on that were deflected by Columbus’ keeper.
But at the 26:16 mark of the first half, Claire Pothitakis, who’s third in goals in the state in Class 1A and fifth overall with 14, pushed a shot in from the center to open up the scoring.
She said the team’s defense is stout and and passing has improved which is opening up scoring opportunities in the front.
“Our defense and midfield passing is allowing me to get access to the goal,” Pothitakis said after the game.
“This all starts with our defense, which is playing great, and moving to the midfield where we can get some through balls and charge up.”
At 18:56, Pothitakis would get her second goal of the night from the right side at the north end of the field, and neither team would be able to find the net the rest of the half.
Senior Taylor Boeding about got in the scoring with 10:43 left in the half, when Pothitakis slid a pass on the ground from the left side into the box about five feet center in front of the goalie, but Boeding got under the ball and popped it straight up over the goal.
Opening the second half with the ball in south part of the field Pothitakis set up about 20 feet off the end line and launched a left-footed crossing pass to the center of the box, that faded to the left and slipped into the net high right above the keeper.
Pothitakis said that was an “ooops” goal.
“I was looking for Taylor (Boeding) coming in from the other side. I’m naturally right-footed, but I can kick with the left so I sent it in and it just faded left and went in the net,” she said.
Head Coach Michael Sheerin said Pothitakis is a giving player and wants the whole team involved.
“Seriously, she could score six goals a game, but it’s important to her for the whole team to succeed and she shares the ball very well,” he said.
Holy Trinity would score their final goal when junior Ashlynn Haas had a free kick from about 22 feet left of center. Columbus set up a wall and Haas drilled it off the shoulder of one of the Wildcats, causing the ball to pop up and sail over the head and right of the keeper for a 4-0 lead.
The Crusaders had 14 shots on goal, including two each from Nicole Pothitakis and Lulu Zhang. Boeding, Elle Rashid, Elyse Pothitakis, Haas, Mya Lawlor, Eryn Anderson, and Taylor Crabtree all had shots on goal.
Holy Trinity travels to the Burlington this weekend for the coveted, and loaded, Adidas Tournament of Champions, where 500 soccer players from five states throughout the Midwest will descend on the Rec Plex Friday and Saturday.
The Crusaders start with Pekin, Illinois on Friday at 1:30 p.m. on Field 5. Also in the bracket is Burlington Notre Dame, Lockport High of Lockport, Ill.; Olathe North, of Olathe, Kan.; Richwoods High, of Peoria, Ill.; Homewood-Flossmoor, of Flossmoor, Ill.; and Pewaukee High of Pewaukee, Wis.
Sheerin said the tournament is completely loaded with talent and it’s a good experience for the girls.
“The goal there is to learn playing against these big clubs and come out injury free,” he said.
Pothitakis said she’s looking forward to the opportunity.
“I think if we just keep doing the things we’re doing, we’re gonna be okay,” she said.