THS TJ Girls Soccer

Tuscarora’s Julia Morales (13) lines up a successful shot on goal Tuesday night in the first half at Tuscarora High School.

Often times during games, senior Mia Hill and sophomore Mackenzie Facine find themselves kicking the top of grass or humming their favorite Disney tune.

Communicating with the defenders in front of them can be a challenge because they are often stationed near midfield.

Playing goalie for the Tuscarora girls soccer team can be a fairly lonely experience. The Titans dominate possession so thoroughly and snuff out chances for the opposing team so quickly that Hill, the starter, and Facine, her backup, can feel like they are on an island unto themselves, very far removed from the action.

Yet it is incumbent on both of them to stay engaged, as difficult as it may be, in case there is a sudden counter attack and they are pressed into service.

“You have to flip the switch really quickly,” said Hill. “It’s one of those things with soccer. It can change just like that.”

That was evident in the second half Tuesday when visiting Thomas Johnson found a way to score two goals against the Titans, becoming the first team to score multiple goals in a game against Tuscarora this season.

The Titans (11-0) otherwise dominated for a 10-2 victory. But the two goals against were noteworthy because they were only the second and third goals allowed all season, next to the 55 goals they have scored.

“It’s hard to be ready at all times when you don’t get a lot of action,” Tuscarora coach Troy Bowers said. “Again, if a goalie is not with it mentally, it’s hard to make that save. It happens. They are high school kids.”

Hill and Facine said they try and stay engaged as best they can. They praised the work of their back line, saying their defenders make their job pretty easy.

“Everything starts with them,” Facine said.

The potent Tuscarora offense also helps tremendously by keeping the ball in the opposing end of the field for the vast majority of games.

TJ, like many opponents for the Titans, struggled to gain possession and did not register a shot until the game was 38 minutes old.

Even when junior strike Chase Borntreger and senior defender Anyelen Guzman found ways to break through for the Patriots, those goals were quickly answered by Tuscarora.

Bowers said the Titans can sometimes get a little too fancy, making the extra pass that “we don’t need.”

He said the focus Tuesday was to keep the game simple, and his players managed to do just that.

Sophomore midfielder Ella Sheridan had three goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Cali Cammarata also scored three goals. Sophomore striker Nina Connors had two goals and an assist, while freshman midfielder Julia Morales sparked the offense with two goals and two assists.

“She brought the fire today,” Bowers said of Morales. “She’s started every game for me as a freshman, running that middle. We are getting more comfortable with her and growing into the way that she plays. It was nice to see the results of that tonight.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

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