LIZTON — Stephanie Burdsall had three goals as the Danville girls’ soccer team beat rival Tri-West 4-2 on Wednesday, pulling the Warriors closer to the Sagamore Conference crown.
The victory gave Danville a 12-1 record overall and 5-0 mark in conference play, while defending champ Tri-West dropped to 11-2 and 5-1, respectively. A win over Frankfort next Wednesday would give Danville the outright Sagamore title.
Wednesday’s game was one the Warriors itched for.
“The past two years I’ve been here we lost to them in close games, and we waited for this game all summer, all preseason and all season,” said Burdsall, whose hat trick gave her 40 goals for the season. “We’re just really excited to have won.”
First-year Danville coach Robert Dowhen got his first taste of the Warriors/Bruins rivalry.
“Tri-West is always good and they’re always well-coached,” Dowhen said. “They shut down a lot of what we want to work on, but our girls decided before we came here that after last year’s loss that cost them the conference championship, they wanted that to change.”
Tri-West lost leading scorer Hayley Stroup to a knee injury early in the first half, and the Bruins offense struggled to find its groove through most of the first 55 minutes.
“We battled some injuries off and on all night, but everybody stepped in and played great,” Tri-West coach Billy Hall said. “We got down but fought back and gave ourselves a shot at the end.”
Danville broke through eight minutes into the contest as Burdsall streaked through Tri-West’s defense and got off an open, point-blank shot.
Burdsall almost had another goal seven minutes later, but a nice save by goalkeeper Karen Jones kept it a one-score game.
Danville’s upped its lead with four minutes left in the first half when Aubrey Fox controlled a missed shot by Ella Davis, bounced one shot off the left post, and put the rebound in.
Tri-West’s scoring opportunities were limited in the first half, as Katie Parsons and Marita VanDyke had the Bruins’ only two shots on goal.
Tri-West scored with 25 minutes left in the second half, when a well-placed free kick from just right of the box by Paige Newton was headed in by Corbin Badger.
“I told them at halftime that we couldn’t win the game unless we won the second half,” Hall said. “They came out to put the pressure on and take some chances. That goal energized us and gave us a shot.”
Burdsall scored with 12 minutes left when she cut across the top of the box and hooked a shot over Jones, but Tri-West again trimmed it to a one-goal margin with six minutes remaining when Newton buried a free kick into the back of the net.
With just over two minutes left, Burdsall scored with a roller into the right corner of the goal to clinch the win.
Dowhen said it was a big victory for his youthful squad.
“Let’s be real here, with one senior, two juniors and the rest sophomores and freshmen, it’s one heck of a win,” he said. “Tri-West has nine seniors and they’re not a team to be taken lightly. We practiced hard for them, and our girls fought for every ball and possession.”