GREENWICH — When Alana Frederick tallied 1 minute, 30 seconds into Sacred Heart Greenwich’s soccer matchup against Hamden Hall Country Day School Saturday, it marked the beginning of a career game for the Tigers’ junior forward.
Frederick recorded a hat trick by adding two more goals and Sacred Heart added another win to its ledger, defeating visiting Hamden Hall, 7-2, in an FAA game.
With the win in its FAA-opener, Sacred Heart upped its record to 3-1 overall. The Tigers entered the game without the services of senior captains/forwards Amelia Sheehan and Taylor O’Meara, both of whom are recovering from injuries and are hoping to return to action next week.
“We were missing some of our key players, our captains today,” Frederick said. “So it was really important for the juniors to step up and make those chances in the final third. I think we did a really good job of circling it through the middle and creating those chances and getting it past the defensive line.”
Junior midfielder Fernanda Serna tallied twice, while junior forward Lara Patricio and Bettina Holden had one goal apiece for the victors.
“We are getting better with each game and we’re getting more confident,” Tigers coach Stuart Smith said. “We had some really important players out with injuries, so it was nice to see some players come on, get some good minutes and play big parts in the game.”
Senior midfielder May Cervone scored both of Hamden Hall’s goals, while junior goalie Gabi Pesticci made eight saves. The home team took a 4-1 lead into halftime.
“Our team played well, after a few goals they got, we just kind of got down on ourselves,” Hornets coach Chuck Salvi said. “We were chasing the game, but once we were organized and we were moving the ball around, we were connecting our passes and moving forward.”
Frederick finished in front, after the Tigers quickly moved the ball forward in the first minute, giving Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead. Senior midfielder Leah Atkins set Frederick up for her first tally. Sacred Heart seized a 2-0 lead when Serna scored, finishing off a pass from Patricio in the ninth minute.
“Lara drove the ball to the line and she put it back, which we have been practicing all week, and I shot it and it went in,” Serna said. “We circled the ball a lot, we did some give and goes and we had some really good team chemistry, even tough some key players are out. We handled the situation well.”
Said Smith: “Fernanda and Patricio have this really good connection and they combine really well with Alana.”
With Pesticci attempting to retrieve a loose ball, Patricio got to it first and knocked a shot in from five yards out, making it 3-0 in the 22nd minute. Eighth grader Madison Hart sent a cross to Frederick, who scored from close in, putting the Tigers on top, 4-0, with 16:20 still to go in the first half.
Cervone put the Hornets on the scoreboard when she tallied with 6:59 remaining in the opening half.
The Tigers kept the pressure up in the second half, behind senior Atkins, Frederick, Patricio and Serna. Holden, Serna and Frederick each tallied in the second half, with Frederick completing her hat trick in the 76th minute. Cervone’s second goal for Hamden Hall come off free kick from approximately 40 yards out in the 62nd minute. Freshman goalie Daphne Hartch and junior goalkeeper Megan Mahoney combined for the winning effort for the Tigers.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Frederick set the pace with her three goals.
“She’s a player who we were thinking about playing as a centerback, but she has so much speed,” Smith said of Frederick. “Defenders are having trouble keeping up with her. She went by three defenders with her ball control and speed on that last goal.”
Sacred Heart hosts FAA foe St. Luke’s on Monday, then visits neighborhood rival Greenwich Academy on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Hamden Hall (0-5, 0-3 FAA) visits Greenwich Academy on Monday.
“I think our game against GA is going to be a really good game,” Serna said. “We have a really good team and I know GA has a really good team, so we are going to practice hard for it.”
Said Frederick: “I’m so excited to see what we can do against St. Luke’s and GA. I’m really excited to see how that plays out.”