East senior soccer player Erika Ekengren probably looked at Rose Hill's Kalyn Pfaff with envy during their game Tuesday night.
There was Pfaff, free to roam the field against an East defense that couldn't match her speed. Pfaff could race to open spots to receive passes, create her own shot or involve others.
Ekengren wasn't afforded those luxuries because she was locked down by Mayra De Luna. Though more physically impressive than Ekengren, the East forward was frustrated by the Rockets’ constant coverage. Pfaff's four goals were the difference in Rose Hill's 6-2 win. Pfaff also had an assist.
"I think we gave them the opportunities," East coach Jim Griffis said. "Consequently, we weren't able to create on the other end."
East outshot Rose Hill 11-7, but Rose Hill converted on all but one of its shots. The Rocket most responsible for that efficiency was Pfaff, who used her speed to give Rose Hill a 1-0 lead midway through the first half.
Pfaff was being chased by two defenders as she tried to race down a loose ball near East's goal. She beat them to it, but East goalkeeper Yessica Rodriguez nearly got there to cut off Pfaff. The ball barely glanced off Pfaff's foot and slid into the open net.
Pfaff could also claim attribution for Rose Hill's aggressiveness in the second half. She scored four minutes into the half, then eight minutes later as Rose Hill pulled away, ultimately taking a 5-0 lead. Pfaff added her fourth goal in the final minutes.
"She brings good shot speed, good dribbling ability," Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat said. "She runs well in the back. She doesn't run straight, she runs at great angles and she gets other players the ball, too."
Ekengren had a height and speed advantage on De Luna, who marked her throughout the game, and the other defenders who swarmed Ekengren whenever she got the ball.
When Ekengren got the ball in space, it was too far out for her to shoot or create a shot. She tried to fend off multiple defenders, but when she had the ball they wouldn't let her do anything with it. East's two goals were scored by Amber Haslam.
"Defensively it's a smart game plan," Griffis said. "You do have to take (Ekengren) out because she's a threat. If you take her out, we have a few who are starting to step up, but we're not there yet."
Rose Hill 1 5 — 6
East 0 2 — 2
First half—Rose Hill, Pfaff (Hull). Second half—Rose Hill, Pfaff (Raevsky); Rose Hill, Pfaff (Schultz); Rose Hill, Johnson (Raevsky); Rose Hill, Khalidi (Pfaff); East, Haslam (unassisted); East, Haslam (Jordan); Rose Hill, Pfaff (Hull). Shots—Rose Hill 3-4—7; East 4-7—11. Saves—Rose Hill, Harris 4-5—9; East, 2-0—2.