Thanks to an impressive performance at home and a loss from Bay, the Rocky River girls soccer team clinched the Great Lakes Conference title Oct. 9.
After scoring early against the Invaders, the floodgates opened en route to a 9-0 victory. Seven Pirates scored, with two (Sophia Murray and Taylor Byall) scoring twice. Bay’s 3-1 loss to Buckeye secured the outright conference crown for the Pirates.
This is the first outright GLC title for the Pirates after sharing it with Bay last season. In all, Rocky River’s girls team has seven conference championships.
“It’s always a goal for us in the beginning of the year. We want to win our conference,” Rocky River coach Pat Hopkins said. “Now the next goal is: let’s see if we can get 10 wins in the regular season and let’s see how we do in the tournament.”
Hopkins said this year’s team has been especially fun to coach.
“To see what they’ve done over the year – we’ve had a few tough games in Chagrin Falls and Solon,” he said. “We may have lost those games, but we learned so much by playing them. That’s why we play tougher teams like that.”
Murray broke the scoreless tie less than three minutes into the game with Byall doubling that lead to 2-0 five minutes in. The two netted their second goals in the 49th and 38th minutes respectively.
The duo credited their midfielders Cara McKenna, Lizzie Hamker and Maya Patti and defender Samantha Miller for making their jobs up top easier all night.
“In the middle, they deserve a lot of recognition,” Murray said. “They played some great balls. And they make it almost too easy not to score based on what they play us. With a team like that that can play a great ball past the backline for us to run onto it’s impossible not to get it.”
Also scoring were senior Alexandra Pike (16th minute), sophomore Addie Harris (34th), Miller (53rd), Hamker (57th) and Patti (62nd).
“We’re a young team, so I think this year we all accomplished gaining more confidence,” Byall said. “It’s a lot of help from the older girls and our captains Lizzie and Sam. I feel like our confidence is built up a lot and caused us to win really tough games.”
Rocky River is the top seed in the Division II, Region 6 Sectional tournament and now has a first-round bye into the Sectional final Thursday, where they’ll await the winner of Monday’s Fairview/Padua matchup.
“We’re looking to win Districts this year,” Hopkins said. “Last year we got it taken from us by Bay and we’re not going to let that happen again.”
Contact this reporter at email@example.com or 440-871-5797.