By Steve Millar
Marist senior forward Ally Corcoran’s confidence in the RedHawks' ability to score goals has grown immensely in recent weeks.
“We have really talented young players that are stepping up,” Corcoran said. “I know that I don’t have to do it on my own. I know they’ll score goals just like I’ll score goals.
“Early in the season, teams were shutting us down in a lot of games, but now we’re scoring a lot more. We’ve definitely gotten better as the season goes on. Our freshmen have helped us a lot.”
Corcoran started the scoring against Shepard on then got help from a pair of freshmen as visiting Marist cruised to a 3-0 win over the Astros.
Cece Light and Ciara Bridges also scored for the RedHawks, who improved to 10-10-2 with the win.
Corcoran took a long pass from Michelle Lenz and broke toward the net. With Shepard goalkeeper Veronica Janik charging out of the net to cut down Corcoran’s angle, Corcoran banged a shot off the inside of the right post and in to make it 1-0 in the 12th minute.
“There was nothing technical about that shot,” Corcoran said, with a laugh. “I just got lucky.”
Light made it 2-0 with left in the first half. The freshman made a strong run down the right sideline and had the ball knocked away by a defender, but stole it back and fired a quick shot into the upper portion of the net.
“Cece is playing great for us,” Marist coach Chris Roe said. “She’s really stepped up and she’s making things happen. Things have started to figure themselves out. We’ve seen where players can and can’t play and we’ve got a better rotation down now.”
Shepard, 5-12-2 after the loss, picked up its play in the second half and created some dangerous scoring chances just after the break.
Yiselle Silvar took a pass from Diana Lopez and fired just wide with 38:30 to go.
The Astros then worked a nice combination play with Kylie Radz sending a pass to Amara Mason, whose cross found Gabrielle Taylor in the center of the box.
Taylor ripped a shot on goal, but Marist goalkeeper Lauren Stapleton made a strong save.
It was the first of three saves for Stapleton, who combined with Cassandra Eraci for the shutout.
Lenz, Annie Callaghan, Katherine Pappas and Sofia Perez gave the goalkeepers plenty of help on the back line.
“Our outside defenders were all new this year and now they’ve gotten a lot more experience and we’re more solid in the back,” Lenz said.
Ciara Bridges added the third goal for Marist with left in the match.
Veronica Janik made 10 saves for Shepard.
“Our three captains, Ixchel (Salgado), Amara (Mason) and Kaci (Jasik) made it a point to play together as a team and they realized where to attack in the second half,” Shepard coach Frank Marek said. “We executed a bit better in the second half. Marist was a tough opponent with a strong defense.”