TWINSBURG — When Cuyahoga Falls girls soccer headed up to play at Twinsburg Wednesday, the Black Tigers had same aim as many of Twinsburg’s opponents over the last three seasons: Contain Alli King.
Unfortunately for Falls coach Greg Shoults — and everyone else in the Suburban League National Conference — containing Twinsburg’s speedy senior forward the last few years has been about as easy as fighting a house fire with a squirt gun.
The Northern Kentucky University recruit was at it again Wednesday at Tiger Stadium,
King scored a natural hat trick in the first 18 minutes of the game, allowing Twinsburg to coast to a 5-1 victory over the Black Tigers. Twinsburg improved to 5-0, 2-0 in the Suburban League National Conference, while Falls dropped to 1-4-1, 0-2 in the conference.
Twinsburg coach John Garber could only smile at the early dominance of this senior striker.
"She’s been special, not just in the last two years, but as a freshman and sophomore, too," Garber said. "When she’s on, she can run at goal like that and cause I lot of havoc."
While acknowledging King’s excellent, Shoults noted his team’s lack of of defensive awareness hurt.
"You can prepare and talk to the girls all you can about being ready defensively, but we have to go out and do it," Shoults said. "It was exactly what I told them was coming. We got caught watching a ball a few times and it cost us.
"Last year, it was 7-2 against [Twinsburg]. This year, it’s 5-1," Shoults added. "Half those goals were preventable, though, it we’re in the right defensive alignment."
Twinsburg’s offense proved to be as efficient as it was suffocating. The Tigers finished with 10-3 edge in shots on goal, but half of their scoring chances in.
King opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a bit of a lucky bounce. She was able to run past her defender to the end line before taking tight angled shot on goal. The ball bounced off Falls goalkeeper Ava Bowser and into the net. Bowser had two saves before being relieved at halftime.
In the 14th minute, King was able to get back in the box, thanks to a nice pass from midfielder Lola Davis. King put her shot into the upper left corner, giving Bowser no chance.
King then got her hat trick with a nice bit of interplay with fellow forward Gillian Voltz. After pushing the ball to end line on the right side, King worked a 1-2 pass with Voltz and squeezed a shot to make it 3-0 in the 18th minute.
Not to be outdone before her fellow senior, Tiger captain Amy Hawerstaat produced a moment of brilliance in the 29th minute to make it 4-0.
Twinsburg was awarded a free kick about 40 yards out from the net and Hawerstaat stepped up. Hawerstaat unleashed a perfectly placed shot from distance that flew in just under the cross bar.
"She just banged that thing in there," Garber said, with a grin.
After the fourth goal, Garber started to substitute liberally. While Falls was able to get some possession against Twinsburg’s reserves, the Black Tigers had no real scoring chances.
"Our lack of experienced showed at time tonight," Shoults said.
Garber said he felt Falls was a much improved team, reserving particular praise for forward Ellie Brustowski.
"No. 22 [Brustowski] is a fast player who was pressing us," Garber said. "In the offensive, they’re a good team."
After the half, Garber put his starters back in and Falls was able to see a bit more of the ball. However, a great run from Twinsburg’s freshman phenom produced the fifth goal, as Tiger forward Jaydn Harris sprinted through Falls’ defense and shot the ball home.
"She’s been providing assists and some great crosses for us," Garber said. "For her to get that goal is going to be a big confidence boost for her."
Twinsburg emptied its bench after the fifth goal and Falls was able to push forward.
Falls avoid the the shutout in the 68the minute when junior midfielder Jenai Blake put a high shot into the net from close range.
Twinsburg will hit the road to face Avon Lake Saturday at 7 p.m. before visiting North Royalton Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Falls will host Youngstown Cardinal Mooney Saturday at 3 p.m. at Laybourne Field before hosting Brecksville Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO