Opposing defenses can’t stop Trinity Lutheran’s Maddie Roark.
Thursday, Roark netted her fifth hat trick in eight games this season, with three scores in a 4-3 victory against Brown County.
With nearly six minutes left in the game, tied at 3-3, Roark placed a ball from 5 yards out from the right side to the center of the box, where Lexi Keller netted her first goal of the season to give the Cougars the final score of the game.
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Roark finished with 15 shots on goal for the Cougars.
“(Roark) had a hand in just about everything we’re doing on the attack,” Cougars coach Jeff Nolting said. “That last goal she assisted just shows the influence she has on the field. They were keying on (Roark) and she placed a perfect ball to Lexi.
“(Roark) has the ability where she can take anyone one-on-one. We’re incorporating more players. As we’re getting better as a team I think she will get more assists. It was a special win for us.”
Just two minutes into the first half, Roark shot a screamer from the near goal post over the Eagles’ keeper to give the Cougars the 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles’ Maddy Fields equalized the game with a shot that slipped past Cougars goalkeeper Piper Acton at 24:32.
At the 16:44 mark, Roark slotted a penalty kick after getting fouled hard inside the 18-yards box to put the Cougars back up at 2-1.
Following intermission, the Eagles answered when Skylar Fleischman blasted a shot to the near post from 10 yards with 32:29 left in the game.
Roark’s final goal came at 32:29, when she won a ball in midair with the Eagles’ keeper off a punt from Acton.
Fleischman tallied her second goal in the game on a soaring shot from 18 yards prior to Keller’s game-winner.
In the second half, Acton came up with a number of key saves for the Cougars.
She finished the game with 12 stops on 19 Eagles’ shot attempts.
“When you have an athlete in goal like (Acton) it can kind of make up for the technical deficiencies,” Nolting said. “She did a great job and was fearless in there. She’s getting more confidence in goal and isn’t afraid to come out and get the ball.”
Nolting said he saw improvements in his team’s play from their previous game against Greenwood Christian Academy on Tuesday.
“Defense has been the focus all week in the games we’ve had,” Nolting said. “Tonight, the difference-maker was them pressuring the ball. We challenged the touches well. Every game is a learning process and we’re improving each game. I thought the first 10 minutes we played better than in the past. Tonight, we kind of took control from the beginning.”
The Cougars (5-3) will play in Danville on Saturday.