SOUTH CHINA — It’s been an unusual season for the Erskine girls soccer team, which so far has played to ties against four of its opponents.

The Eagles faced one of those opponents in Oceanside on Friday and this time made a decisive statement on their home field with a 3-1 victory.

Freshman Riley Reitchel scored a pair of goals and assisted on another as the Eagles out-shot the Mariners 17-3.

Erskine moves to 5-3-4 and in fifth place in the Class B North tournament standings, a few points ahead of Oceanside (5-4-2).

When these teams met a month ago, the Eagles had to rally for three goals in the second half to gain a tie. Friday, they scored twice in the first half and didn’t allow a shot on goal over the first 40 minutes.

“We don’t like to lose on our home field,” junior Morgan Presby said. “We had a lot of confidence coming in today. We’ve had a few ties and we weren’t ready to tie again.”

Reitchel scored both first-half goals thanks to convenient assists from Haymanot Maynard and Mary-Jane Williams. In both instances Reitchel caught Oceanside goalie Raechel Joyce (14 saves) out of position and chipped into an open net.

“I had a nicer cross-in from (Maynard) on the first one,” Reitchel said. “And on the second one, M.J. Williams gave a nice ball after tackling the ball.”

Williams collided with a defender inside the penalty area and, as Joyce came out, she was able to chip the ball over a defender to a wide-open Reitchel.

“Down there we had a slow start,” Erskine coach Michael Falla said. “This is much more reflective of our effort.

Both teams were down a couple of starters — the Eagles were missing sweeper Summer Hotham and center midfielder Jordan Linscott — but as Falla explained “we’re deep enough that we’re able to roll in (players from) the bench.”

The Mariners came out with a much stronger effort in the second half but weren’t able to translate any territorial edge into shots on goal thanks to team effort at midfield and a back-line defense led by sweeper Presby.

“She’s filling a role back there,” Falla said. “She’s usually my striker.”

The Mariners cut the lead in half with just over seven minutes left to play when Molly Gould drilled a shot from 20 yards out on the right wing that beat Erskine keeper Caitlin Labbe to the upper left corner. The Eagles nearly got their two goal lead back two minutes later on a nice solo run from sophomore Joanna Linscott that ended with a point-blank save from Joyce. They got their insurance goal with 22 seconds left to play when Reitchel picked up a loose ball near midfield and dribbled inside two defenders and passed the ball back to her right to Williams, who finished the play.

“It was a great assist,” Falla said. “She’s fit into the starting lineup very well. As her confidence grows, she’ll blossom into a good player.”


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