It may have been Senior Night for the Newton girls soccer team on Tuesday, but it was the underclassmen that stole the show.
Freshman Victoria Jordan notched a hat trick and sophomore Anna Barr added two goals of her own as the Class 2A No. 7 Cardinals cruised to a 9-0 victory over Des Moines Abraham Lincoln and left their first loss of the season behind.
The stage is now set for a showdown with Pella on Thursday to determine the Little Hawkeye Conference champion.
“This game was a big preparation game for the game on Thursday,” Newton coach Sackda Viravong said. “I told the the girls to come out and establish early and limit turnovers. This was good to see because there’s nothing we can do with a loss, but they showed they can set a tempo and play their game.”
Newton (11-1, 4-0) controlled the ball virtually the entire game and got the first goal of the game from Jordan at the 33:08 mark of the first half when she took a pass up the middle from junior Amber Karsten and knocked it into the back of the net.
Lincoln gave Newton a little help with an own goal, despite the fact freshman Hannah Rhoads was in the vicinity, to give the Cards a 2-0 lead.
Almost exactly one minute later, Jordan tallied her second goal after a shot from Barr bounced off the right post and back into play. Barr then added her goals at the 15:17 and 14:35 marks, the former coming on a solid assist from senior Stevi Eggers.
Jordan scored once more in the half with 6:29 to go to earn her hat trick and give Newton a 6-0 halftime. Lincoln barely crossed the midfield line in the half, meaning the Cardinals were effective in their game plan to possess the ball as much as possible.
“When we do turn the ball over, they have a few seconds to get it back,” Viravong said. “We don’t want them to play around with the ball and get the chance to pass. We accomplished that tonight as far as getting the ball back.”
About 11 minutes into the second half, sophomore Rylie Udelhoven scored on a free kick from a foul on Eggers just outside the penalty area to put the Cards up 7-0. It would be a little while before the scoring picked up again, and since she had enough time to knit a sweater out of the net if she wanted, Newton junior keeper Emily Forysth was moved to a field position with about 11 minutes to go in the game.
After a number of close calls, Newton junior Skylar Seals rediscovered the back of the net for the Cardinals with 8:05 to play. Around three minutes later, Forysth finally got the goal that has eluded her multiple times this season to cap Newton’s scoring at nine goals.
Although Newton has one home game remaining, the Cardinals honored Eggers, Katelyn McCarey, Jenny Johnson, Kaylie Rhoads and Kristin Samson with a Senior Night to allow the team to focus on Thursday’s game against Pella.
Of course, the Cardinals might not be in position for that big game without the on-field and leadership contributions the seniors have made. The team may have lost its leading goal scorer from the past few seasons, but this year’s seniors have proven how valuable they are to the program.
“We have a big game Thursday night, so their minds should be on conference play and the game,” Viravong said. “Winning the conference is our goal this year, and it should be an exciting game. It’s going to be a big, physical battle.”
The Cardinals and Dutch enter the game with identical records of 11-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Play will begin at 7:30 p.m. from H.A. Lynn Field.