Burrell girls soccer races past rival Freeport, moves to cusp of section title

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | 10:45 PM

Burrell junior Jordyn Kowalkowski said she expected another close game with Freeport on Wednesday as the first Section 2-AA matchup between the rivals Sept. 18 went down to the wire.

The No. 1 Bucs won that first meeting by one goal, but the rematch at Buccaneers Stadium turned out to be anything but a nail-biter.

Allie Vescio tallied a hat trick, and Kowalkowski and Megan Malits added two goals apiece as Burrell (13-0, 9-0) scored a dominant 7-1 victory.

“We came out with the energy, and it was just all there for us,” Kowalkowski said.

Burrell, which led 4-0 at halftime, moved one step closer to its first section title since 2005. It can clinch at least a tie for the section crown with a win at Apollo-Ridge on Thursday.

Deer Lakes finds itself alone in second place at 9-2 after its 4-0 win over Apollo-Ridge on Wednesday. Freeport (12-3, 8-3) and Deer Lakes will meet Monday in the section finale for both teams.

“Both teams played really well. I just think we got some fortunate bounces tonight,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said. “Sometimes, breaks go your way. But one thing our team is really good at is generating opportunities. Converting sometimes is a whole other story, but tonight, we capitalized on our chances and found the back of the net.”

Freeport came in on a six-game winning streak and had surrendered just one goal during that stretch.

Both the Yellowjackets and Bucs worked with possession early and made deep pushes, but neither was able to get on the scoreboard.

After a few dangerous opportunities were denied by the Freeport defense, including the first shot on goal in the 12th minute, Burrell struck the first blow.

Malits took possession at 30 yards, moved into the box and put a shot on goal past Freeport keeper Maddy Zarinchak in the 17th minute.

Burrell found the back of the net seven minutes later as Malits scored again, this time off a feed from Vescio.

It was Vescio’s turn six minutes before halftime as she scored from the right wing to extend the Bucs’ lead to 3-0.

She then capped Burrell’s productive first half on a tally with just nine seconds left on the clock.

“Burrell is a fantastic team,” Freeport coach Brittni Grenninger said. “We didn’t play our best game, and you can’t have an off night against a team like that. They capitalized on a majority of their opportunities. We just didn’t have it in us tonight to build an attack when we needed to. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them again, but they really earned it tonight.”

Burrell didn’t let up at the start of the second half. Kowalkowski scored 68 seconds into the final 40 minutes and added another before Vescio picked up her third.

The Bucs subbed their starters as the second half progressed.

Emma Check scored unassisted with 14 minutes left as Freeport avoided the shutout.

Burrell held a 17-6 shot advantage. Danika Stone, Jayden Smalling and Maddie Schaub contributed assists. Nesko tipped his cap to the back line of Maia Ferra, Annie Weimer and Stone as well as keeper Delaney O’Brien.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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