ORONO — Emily Tilton missed a healthy chunk of last season with a thumb injury.
It appears as though the John Bapst High School senior forward wants to make up for lost time.
Tilton notched her first career four-goal game and also picked up two assists to lead the Crusaders to an 8-0 victory over Stearns High of Millinocket in a mutual season opener at the University of Maine field Wednesday night.
Her younger sister, junior midfielder Elise Tilton, contributed two goals and two assists.
Junior forwards Christina Long and Jessica Leslie had the other goals for the Crusaders, who went 13-3 a year ago and lost to eventual state champ Nokomis of Newport in double overtime in their Eastern Maine Class B semifinal.
Stearns finished 9-7 in Class C last season and lost to eventual Eastern Maine C titlist Foxcroft Academy in the semifinals.
“I liked our ball movement,” said John Bapst coach Gina Schuck. “We’ve worked really hard on passing and cutting instead of passing and standing still.
“The passing combinations are what we really wanted to focus on and we did a very good job of doing that,” added Schuck.
Stearns coach Lori Lincoln said the lightning-quick artificial surface made a substantial difference.
Her team practices and plays on natural grass.
“They practice on it and play on it and they’re a good team,” said Lincoln. “We only see it once or twice a year. You won’t see an 8-0 game on grass. “
Lincoln also pointed out that she graduated 13 seniors.
Emily Tilton opened the scoring with 22:33 left in the five-goal first half when she was set up in the middle of the circle by her sister and ripped a reverse hit past the right side of helpless Stearns sophomore goalie Whitney Guy.
She scored again 6:55 later when she intercepted a free hit by Stearns, pushed the ball into the circle and beat Guy cleanly.
She scored her hat-trick goal just 45 seconds later when sister Elise slipped the ball to her at the top of the circle and her low shot found the back of the cage.
Emily Tilton was a distributor on the next goal as she fed the ball to Leslie, who then found Long and Long finished off the pretty passing sequence by tucking the ball into the short-side corner.
Tilton picked up her second assist on sister Elise’s goal from close range with 5:37 remaining in the half.
Emily and Elise Tilton sandwiched second-half goals around Leslie’s goal.
John Bapst outshot Stearns 37-1.
Senior Aubrey Stanislawski made one save on the game’s first shot on goal in posting the shutout. She wasn’t required to make another.
Guy wound up with 11 saves.
“We’ve been working a lot on our passing combinations and shooting this summer,” said Emily Tilton. “We were prepared to score a lot.”
“I think it paid off,” said Elise Tilton. “We have a lot of good players who can receive the ball and pass it off quickly.”
“The Tilton sisters are very, very good players. They’re very skilled but they work hard to get those skills,” said Schuck, who was also pleased with the play of Long and Leslie.
Leslie had an assist to go with her goal and Amelia Pellegrini had an assist.
Lincoln, which has just one senior starter in forward Ashley Rollins, praised the performances turned in by Rollins and junior forward Alex Mooney along with Guy and junior back Emily Wark.