HERMON — Hermon High School freshman center midfielder Claire Petersen scored the first four goals of her high school soccer career on Tuesday and followed that with a pair of goals on Saturday as the Hawks used three first-half scores to beat Old Town 3-0.
Nicole Turmel opened the scoring with her sixth goal of the season 6:57 into the game before Petersen made it 2-0 12:07 later. Petersen scored her second with 55 seconds remaining in the half.
“I think this was probably one of our best games overall,” said senior Turmel. “We passed the ball really well and put some real good plays together.”
Hermon’s speed and tenacity on the ball enabled the Hawks to dominate the first half. The Hawks generated 12 shots at goal while limiting Old Town to a pair of long-range shots that sailed wide late in the half.
The Hawks gave the Coyotes very little time and space with the ball while attacking in waves.
“It seemed like for every one Old Town player there were three Hermon players,” said Old Town senior forward Ashley England. “We didn’t play our best game but we played much better in the second half.”
Sophomore striker Kaitlin Saulter set Hermon’s first two goals and junior center midfielder Jessica Allen made the pass that resulted in Petersen’s second goal.
Senior Mikayla Treadwell finished with four saves on 10 shots for the Hawks, who are now 5-1 and winners of three straight.
Senior Ashley Abbott made eight saves on 26 shots for 2-4 Old Town, which had its two-game winning streak snapped.
Saulter’s wizardry with the ball set up Turmel’s goal as she was able to maneuver past a defender and get to the end line where she sent a perfect cross to the near post to the waiting Turmel.
“I knew she was in front. I looked up and saw her and crossed it to her,” said Saulter.
“The only thing I could get on the ball was my head,” said Turmel. “I usually try not to head the ball because a lot of times, I head it over the goal so it kind of surprised me when it actually went in.
“I’m not that great at controlling the ball with my head. I tried to barely skim it so it would get out of the grasp of the goalie’s hands,” added Turmel whose glancing header nestled in the far corner.
Petersen’s first goal involved some good fortune as Saulter laid the ball off to her at the top of the penalty area and Petersen’s one-hop shot slipped through the hands and legs of Abbott.
“I was trying to hit it hard and put it to the corner a little bit. I didn’t hit it very good [placement-wise],” said Petersen.
Abbott atoned for her mistake by making a terrific full-extension right-hand save off a Saulter breakaway.
Petersen’s next goal was from a similar spot only a few yards further back and Abbott had no chance on it as Petersen placed it right under the crossbar off the Allen feed.
“I just tried to hit it really hard,” said Petersen.
Old Town was able to generate some pressure in the attacking third in the second half but Treadwell came up with four saves and her teammates defended effectively.
Junior midfielder Kelsey Maxim had Old Town’s best scoring chance but her direct free kick from the left edge of the box flew wide of the far post.
“We possessed the ball, we kept the game under our tempo and we were able to control the midfield which opened up a lot of space for us,” said Hermon coach Adam Leach. “We were able to spread their defenders out a little bit and that’s when [Petersen] was able to jump through and get good looks at the goal. I was happy with our diversity in goal scoring because it means we’re playing as a team.”
Old Town coach Chuck Neely said his team was definitely flat at the beginning of the game.
“Hermon is very good on the ball, they’re quite skilled and quite fast and they caught us off guard a little at the beginning,” he said. “But we really settled down after the first two goals — their third goal was an extremely good goal — and we played pretty dang well over the last 50 minutes.”