ANDOVER — Instinct isn't the most teachable skill, but that doesn't keep Andover Central girls soccer coach Stephanie Garcia from making it a focal point of practices.
Garcia saw her efforts pay off in Central's 4-0 win over Rose Hill on Tuesday. The Jaguars controlled the ball for much of the game and were so precise and efficient with their passes that it appeared they were always thinking ahead.
"We've been trying to work on vision and anticipation," Garcia said. "Where to go with the ball and trying to anticipate it before anybody else can."
On the game's first play, Central strung several passes together to get an open shot for Hannah Zarich. The shot was high, but Central's strategy stayed the same.
The Jaguars kept the ball by taking care of it. Combined with their superior speed, it allowed them to overmatch Rose Hill and outshoot the Rockets 21-6.
"We do a lot of vision drills because we have to work on our communication and everything," Central's Emily Hewitt said. "Then when we get on the field it just comes naturally to us."
Hewitt scored the first goal on a rebound 23 minutes in. Rose Hill goalkeeper MaKenzie Smith, aggressive all game, left the box in an effort to corral the ball while players from both teams tried to get control of it.
Hewitt finally did, and her reward was an open net.
"The goalie, I saw her fumble it," Hewitt said. "And I just wanted a goal so bad. I just kept tapping it until it went in."
While Central's defense gave Rose Hill few opportunities, Central presented the Rockets with a chance to rally by missing on several breakaways and open shots early in the second half.
Instead of being discouraged by the temporary lack of production, Central gained momentum from it, turning near misses into goals. Paige Matacchiera, Hannah Mallets and Hannah Sitz all scored during a seven-minute stretch.
"It's discouraging for the person that missed the shot," Garcia said. "But we have a lot of faith in our team that we'll be able to come back and fix it."
Rose Hill0 0 — 0 Andover Central1 3 — 4
First half—Andover Central, Hewitt (unassisted). Second half— Andover Central, Matacchiera (unassisted); H. Mallets (unassisted); H. Sitz (unassisted). Shots— Rose Hill 4-2—6; Andover Central 7-14—21. Saves— Rose Hill, Smith 2-6—8; Andover Central, Stamp 4-1—5.