St. Anne’s-Belfield knew now wasn’t the time to develop any bad habits — now all the games count.
“That was the plan, to do the right things and do them the right way,” said STAB coach Paddy Foss. “I wanted to make sure we didn’t get into any bad habits moving forward, I didn’t want this game to derail us. I think in the first half we played well in our system, played some good soccer and the goals came, which is nice.”
The Saints started their postseason run with a dominant 8-0 win over Saint Gertrude Monday afternoon in a League of Independent Schools first round clash. The win vaults STAB into the LIS semifinals where they’ll face Collegiate who beat Veritas 5-0 Tuesday.
STAB got there behind a monster effort from Gillian Borton who rang up a hat trick in the game’s first 25 minutes, with all three goals coming in system. Borton typically spends her time setting the table for teammates and she did that too with three assists on the day — giving her a hand in six of the Saints’ eight goals — to bring her total to 19 assists on the year.
The Saints executed well against the Gators, passing and reversing the efficiently and finding strikers on runs before setting the ball back up. Borton helped make the bulk of that happen in the early going.
“She’s without a doubt the best player I’ve seen in the state this year,” Foss said. “She’s capable of scoring and she’s capable of scoring against good teams and she’s all the right things you want to see from a soccer player. You can’t say enough about the leadership qualities she brings — she’s the engine for our team.”
Borton, bound, for Loyola next year, had some help from Gia Woodfolk who notched a hat trick of her own, scoring the third goal on a strong shot with under 20 minutes to play to put STAB up 8-0 and end the game early. Sophie Wilson and Alex Lacour rounded out the scoring for the Saints on the night. Kellie Booth came up with one save in net to maintain the shutout.
STAB is now 8-2-3 on the season and they’re ranked No. 5 in the latest VISAA Division I poll, putting them firmly in playoff position. If they can scratch together an upset of No. 2-seeded Collegiate, who also happens to be state’s top-ranked squad in Division I, it would go a long way toward helping the Saints move up into the top four to snag a home game in the state tournament’s opening round.
The Saints tied Collegiate 1-1 in the first meeting and lost 2-0 in the second meeting back in early April. STAB and Collegiate will play Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the LIS semifinals.