Titans turn the Paige on 2nd round
Post Independent Sports Editor
PEACH VALLEY — Paige Ryan has had hat tricks in soccer before. This one was much better than her previous one.
“For sure,” Ryan said after her three goals helped Coal Ridge High School’s girls soccer team to a 4-0 victory over Faith Christian in the second round of the Class 3A State Championships on Saturday. “This one feels a lot better!”
The Titans (16-1-0), the No. 3 seed in the 32-team state tournament, are feeling pretty good after their victory over the Eagles at The Pasture. Saturday’s win sent Coal Ridge into the 3A quarterfinals. The Titans will host sixth-seeded Kent Denver, a 6-1 winner over 11th-seeded Grand Valley in another second-round match on Saturday. Kickoff for Wednesday’s quarterfinal has not been determined.
Ryan, a junior midfielder and forward, put Coal Ridge ahead, 2-0, when she shot the ball past a crowd of players and past Faith Christian goalkeeper Macey Pearman in the 38th minute. Then in the 53rd minute, she dribbled the ball off a short corner-kick pass from the right side of the field, and her shot from the right side of the 18-yard line lofted over Pearman’s outstretched hands and into the left corner of the goal for a three-goal Coal Ridge cushion.
“That’s our special play,” Ryan said, laughing. “I meant to cross it, but it went in. I just looked at that and was like, ‘yeah, that works.’”
Ryan’s third goal came off a rebounded shot that bounced straight to her, capping the scoring for the Titans in the 61st minute.
Kelsey Fauser, the Titans’ leading scorer, gave Coal Ridge a 1-0 lead off a pass from — who else? — Ryan, who dumped the ball off to Fauser in front of the net as Pearman came out of goal in an attempt to cover up the soccer ball.
Fauser’s position as a center/midfielder sets her up to do the majority of the Titans’ goal scoring. Most of the opportunities Coal Ridge took advantage of on Saturday, however, came off the foot of Ryan.
Paige is an outstanding player, and she really played unselfishly today,” coal Ridge coach Micah Herron said. “When you do that, typically, the ball heads back your way. She took care of the opportunities that she had, and that was great to see.”
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