Shorecrest Prep girls soccer wins district title in 4-0 shutout over St. Stephen's Episcopal

By Chad Brockhoff, Bright House Sports Network
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 1:58 PM EST

The Shorecrest Prep girls soccer team shifted the balance of power against rival Saint Stephen’s Episcopal with a convincing 4-0 victory in Friday night’s Class 1A-District 8 championship match at Out-of-Door Academy.

Receiving a pair of goals over a four-minute span midway through the first half, Lady Chargers head coach Neal Wolfrath didn’t feel completely comfortable about his team’s chances of breaking a streak of three consecutive losses to the Lady Falcons in district title contests until Skyler Ellenburg scored her second goal of the match in the 51st minute. With the way Shorecrest had limited Hannah Howell throughout the match, the fourth goal in the 72nd minute effectively ended a five-match winning streak in district championship matches for Saint Stephen’s.

“It’s huge,” Wolfrath said. “Three years in a row now that we had been (district) runner-up to Saint Stephen’s. It’s a good rivalry and it’s spirited, but I don’t think that there’s no animosity there. It’s a big deal as far of us accomplishing one of our goals. It didn’t surprise us. We felt that we could come into this game and win this game, but I didn’t expect a score of 4-0.

Wolfrath called Howell, a senior who scored a combined 10 goals in the Lady Falcons’ district quarterfinal and semifinal matches, was plagued bouts with a foot injury in the first and second halves and a concentrated defensive effort. Caitlin Shanahan served as Howell’s primary defender throughout the match, while a host of Shorecrest Prep defenders provided help.

“We talked a lot about the second defender coming in and being the one to tackle the ball,” Wolfrath said. “Instead of having just one player mark her, we had player mark her the whole time with help defenders come in and be the ones to try to tackle.”

Control of the ball translated into several shots and goals by Demi Tellios and Ellenburg in 17th and 21st minute, respectively. Saint Stephen’s failed to register any serious threat throughout the match, which led to an easy clean sheet Natalie Zolpar.

“We didn’t challenge their goalie,” Saint Stephen’s head coach Eric Howell said. “She didn’t have to make any saves. Our goalie got challenged. It’s a tough night to catch slick balls and all that. She’s not too thrilled about it, but we said, ‘Hey, that’s what you do. You send balls in on goal and try to make things happen.”

After dropping each of its last three region quarterfinal matches on the road, Shorecrest Prep (17-2-2) hopes to change its fortunes in the Class 1A-Region 2 quarterfinals next week with a home match. Saint Stephen’s (12-3-3) will be on the road for the region quarterfinals for the first time in six years.

“I told them to think about this for about five more minutes,” Eric Howell said. “It’s never fun to get thoroughly beaten. The 4-0 score is not as indicative as to how competitive the game was. That seems like it was a wipeout. I told them to throw it away because we’re still moving on and we still have a win-or-go home game to look forward to. I think they will rise to the occasion.”