Patriot girls move to 9-0

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Heritage Hills senior Kenley Mulzer moves the ball during the first half Tuesday. Heritage Hills defeated Jasper, 3-0.

LINCOLN CITY — Heritage Hills senior Haley Osborne told the Herald after Tuesday's 3-0 shutout of Jasper that the Patriots (9-0) do take things on a game-by-game basis, but added that the team is looking for bigger things as well.

"We know we can't overlook anybody, but we're really hoping to make it to state this year," Osborne said.

Osborne touted the Pats as having a family atmosphere that wants to win for one another, and Heritage Hills coach Andy Fischer backed up Osborne's sentiment on the familial atmosphere. Fischer lauded his players for meshing well, having great leadership and treat one another like family.

"I'm just really proud of these girls," Fischer said. "They're a fun group to coach, all 25 of them. We're a big family, and we're all encouraging each other; and I couldn't ask for a better group of girls right now."

The Wildcats (1-7-1) kept things competitive most of the way. Junior Hadley Lytton scored off of a free kick less than five minutes into the first half, which Jasper coach Michael Donato called a "beautiful shot." Junior Olivia Byrd, and especially senior Kara Krueger, got some shots on net. The former had a corner kick and kicked another towards the net, while the latter created traffic, and had a kick that teetered just to the left of the net in the first half.

However, the Wildcats could not tally, as Heritage Hills senior goalkeeper Mallory Garrison and crew preserved the shutout.

"We got isolated up front a lot," Donato said. "Heritage Hills was doing a really good job pressing us down in the back, a little bit, and then when did get possession of it, and we did play a forward, we ended up being isolated."

It remained a 1-0 game for most of the way, thanks to Lytton's goal. Donato wanted to lock down the center of the field and keep Osborne from contributing in the first half, and he thought it was a well-played game.

However, Osborne put the game to bed in a matter of 39 seconds. Her insurance goal came with 11:43 remaining in the second half, and then she capitalized on a penalty shot with 11:04 to play that brought the game to its final score.

"Hadley had some really good balls to me," Osborne said. "We were really communicating. I think, the first half, we weren't communicating well, and then we, altogether as a team, we picked it up and we were able to get some good passes in, which got me open even to get the penalty kick."

Jasper junior Olivia Byrd sends the ball flying off a kick in the first half Tuesday. Jasper fell to Heritage Hills, 3-0.

Heritage Hills will try to make it 10-0 on Thursday when the Pats are scheduled to visit Princeton. Fischer is hoping they will communicate on their side of the ball and knowing when to attack and when to handle the ball when they have possession.

He talked about Wednesday being a film day when they practice to get ready for the Tigers.

"We're going to compare the two halves of this game, see where we can continue to improve," Fischer said. "Every team, I don't care who you are, I don't care if you're 0-5 or 9-0, you got to continue to improve. So, we're going to pick out spots where we had a few blemishes here and there, and try to just better at those."

Jasper, meanwhile, has not won since a 4-1 Aug. 25 triumph against Evansville Harrison. The Wildcats have had three losses and a tie since getting their first victory of the year. Donato told the Herald that not playing with their full team this year has caused issues. Jasper has had players injured, or quarantined.

Byrd had to exit the game with 2:16 remaining in the first half Tuesday and was carried off the field. Donato plans keep all pressure off of her leg. He thinks the Wildcats would have to get all of their players back in order to turn it around before sectionals.

Jasper will look to return to the win column Thursday at home against Vincennes Lincoln. Donato is looking to focus a lot on fundamentals. He told of many players not having a great first touch and having instant pressure.

"We'll just be focusing on that," he said. "They're going to be a little bit tired and sore, but just more or less trying to make sure they realize that this was a positive game. I mean, I thought they played really well."

Heritage Hills senior Haley Osborne (9), being guarded by Jasper sophomore Jasmin Mehringer as senior Kylie Vaal (25) looks on, gets a pass off on Tuesday. Osborne scored two goals as Heritage Hills won, 3-0.

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