Cougars junior nets 3 in victory

In front of the goal, Sidney Hoene proved unstoppable.

The Trinity Lutheran junior netted a hat-trick — including the game-winner — in a 4-3 victory against Christian Academy of Indiana Tuesday.

The victory marked a third straight win for the Cougars, who also moved back to .500 (5-5) on the season.

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With 17:55 on the clock in the first half, Hoene buried a shot from 18 yards into the top-right corner of the goal — off an assist by Savanna Setty — to give the Cougars the lead.

The Warriors equalized a minute later, as Kelsi Reed hit a hard ball on the ground to the far post, from the right side, from inside 16 yards.

Flossie Cooper bombed a free kick in the center of the field over the Warriors’ keeper head, at the 7:40-mark, to retake the lead for Trinity.

From about 25 yards, with 5:30 left in the half, the Warriors re-tied the game on a goal from McKenzie Millar.

Out of the break, Hoene won possession in the Warriors’ back third of the field, and fired a shot the found the back of the net from 12 yards with 34:07 remaining.

CAI scored their final goal, tying the game at 3-3, with 16:57 on the clock, when Reed poked a ball that bounced out of Trinity keeper Vidalis Montanez’s hands from six yards.

“Every time we thought we were up, they came back at us,” Cougars assistant coach Justin Vorthmann said. “For us to be able to take a good team like that, and be able to keep coming back over and over again, is really impressive for our girls.”

The game-winning goal came with 5:58 left in the game.

Chloe Criswell controlled the ball for Trinity in the middle of the field, and collided with CAI keeper Mollie Hoagland.

With both players on the ground, the ball crept toward the far post and Hoene came running down the far side to guide the ball into the net.

In the final five minutes, Montanzez came up with three big saves — including a diving, one-handed stop — to help secure the win.

CAI outshot Trinity 16-14 in game, and Montanzez collected 12 saves in goal for the Cougars.

Trinity will play at Salem on Thursday.

“We’ve been watching these girls grow all season,” Vorthmann said. “They’ve been making progress every single game. They’ve put a good string of wins together.”

With less than a month of regular season play left, the Cougars feel they’re trending in the right direction.

“Our play is consistently improving,” Vorthmann said. “At this point in the season, that’s what you want to see. I told the girls, at the end, that it’s great that we’re able to now focus on some of the little details. That just shows how much better we’ve gotten now that we can focus on more of the little things.”