Captain Molly Tobin scored a natural hat trick including the game winner as Kenmore West edged North Tonawanda, 4-3, in the Niagara Frontier League opener for both teams, in a game that was played at the Kenmore West Athletic Complex.
During training camp, Tobin remarked that this year’s squad had a better, more together feel compared to last year’s squad that struggled through a four win season. Tobin said that chemistry clearly translated to success on the field in this game.
“It was a huge part,” said Tobin. “I’ve never seen girls on this team come out so strong together. Help each other and encourage each other. We were fighting for one another. When someone was down we helped them up and told them keep going. It was just really good chemistry.”
Kaylee Valentic got the Ladyjacks on the board first early in the game, but the Lady Blue Devils answered back with three consecutive goals. The first coming off of the foot of senior co-captain Faye Panagopoulos.
Tobin got the next two as Ken-West built a 3-1 lead, but a pair of goals by Bella Finley knotted the game at 3-3 at halftime.
Tobin scored the game winner early in the second half. The Ladyjacks had a penalty kick go wide with 24:40 left in regulation.
Tobin said the fact that they didn’t fold under the pressure when NT, a more experienced team on paper, tied the game showed the Blue Devils’ mental toughness.
“I didn’t have to coach that much today. I just was a cheer leader and they did all the talking on the field,” Blue Devils coach Ken Belote said.
“They talked to each other on the field because they know they need to function as a unit.”
Olivia Guarino picked up the win in net for Ken-West.
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