Hillcrest Overcomes Crowded Box, Remains Undefeated
Crookston entered Thursday's game undefeated, and they aimed to keep it that way. Playing 9 of their 11 players in the goalie box, the Pirates sought to limit Hillcrest's offensive advances. After the 80 minute contest, the Comets emerged with six goals, recording their fifth shut-out, and moved the Crookston Pirates to a 3-1 record.
Hillcrest scored quickly, per the norm for their season. 14 minutes into the contest Marcus Hagen lofted a midfield pass behind the Pirates' defensive line. Senior captain Joey Coronado rallied the pass with a one-touch shot on goal, beating the keeper and giving Hillcrest an early 1-0 lead.
12 minutes later, Senior Brian Villagomez took a feed from Zakaria Mohammed in the box. After resetting himself his shot propelled his team to a 2-0 lead. Five minutes later Joey Coronado beat the Pirate defenders as they stormed the box for a corner kick. The smooth volley sailed to the far post off the feet of several Norwegian players, Vegard Heradstveit, Eivind Fluge, and Marcus Hagen, who developed a sweet passing play that gave Hillcrest a 3-0 lead going into the half.
Twelve minutes after the opening kick of the half, Vegard Heradstveit followed a soft-touched corner kick to the net, sending the shot into a ringing net that alerted fans to a 4-0 score. Eight minutes later Villagomez hustled to the Pirate back-line that was dribbling the ball to setup an attack. Villagomez played the ball with expert precision, stealing a poorly handled ball. He dribbled with passion to the top of the 18 yard line and sent a bee-line shot to the upper-right corner of the net. The blast was an exclaimation point to a failed defensive strategy Crookston implimented to stop the charging Hillcrest attack. At the 64 minute mark, Eivind Fluge added a point of his own after dribbling through four Pirate defenders. His fancy footwork created an open shot on goal that brought Hillcrest their sixth point of the contest.
Hillcrest keeper Juan Franco stopped all five shots on net for the day. In his 80 minutes of work, Franco watched as his charging offenders launched 18 shots on net against the Crookston Pirates. Hillcrest coach Rod Jensen noted that, following a couple of sloppy games, he saw the best outing of the season versus Crookston. After the opening minutes, with the Pirates packing the box, Jensen was proud of his team's patience. Controlling the ball nearly 90% of the time, Hillcrest's crisp passing and constant field changes had the Pirates shifting positions and opened holes for shots on goal.
Hillcrest travels to Little Falls on Tuesday to play the Flyers in an effort to continue their unbeaten streak without allowing a goal.