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Eggleton’s hat trick leads Miami Trace to win over McClain in FAC action

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

GREENFIELD — Sports, in general, are all about adjustments. Tuesday’s girl’s soccer match was a perfect example.

Miami Trace and McClain went into halftime tied 3-3. But the Panthers (3-3) shifted a couple of things defensively while maintaining their offensive output, which resulted in a 7-4 victory over the Tigers (3-2-1).

“We came out very strong, played very well and with a lot of intensity,” Miami Trace coach Caitlin Francis said. “This is easily the best game we’ve played all season and we came together as a team. We cleaned up a lot of things that we’ve struggled with in the past couple of games and really got our offense together.”

Miami Trace’s Magarah Bloom gains possession of the ball during the Panthers’ 7-4 win over McClain Tuesday evening.
CREDIT: Brock Netter/SOSA

Through five games, McClain’s Kerigan Pollard has been its go-to player with 16 goals and a Tiger never changes its stripes. 

But Miami Trace’s Morgan Eggleton wasn’t going to let Pollard hog all the limelight. Both forwards scored the first two goals for their respective teams, making it a 2-2 game with 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Panthers took the lead following a goal from Jenna Griffith, but Pollard set up Payton Pryor for an equalizer just for before the half.

“The girls played with a confidence and didn’t back down from the challenge,” Francis said. “Both teams were pretty even so we knew we had to crank things up in the second half.” 

And did the Panthers ever do just that.

Eggleton received the pass at the top of the box, took aim for the top left corner of the goal and connected with net, completing her hat trick and putting the Panthers ahead 4-3.

“We’ve been working on our communication a lot in practice and it’s nice to see it working,” Eggleton said. “It’s been really nice connecting with everyone since we have some new players and it’s allowed us to perform better on the field.” 

From that point on, it was all Panthers as Reagan Barton, Kaylie Lott and Magarah Bloom each found the back of the net within a seven-minute stretch that put the game out of reach.

Pollard rounded out the final score, completing a hat trick with two minutes left in the game, giving her 19 goals on the season.

“We fixed our structure defensively and talked about where some of the open marks were,” Francis said. “Our communication was much better in the second half and I think the girls really settled in the game.

“Graduating and replacing seven starters isn’t easy, but we have a lot of experienced players. Now everyone is beginning to find their niche, game by game, and learning to work as a team. I think we’re finally starting to click.”

Both teams hit the road on Thursday in FAC action. Miami Trace is at Hillsboro and McClain travels to Chillicothe. 

“This win was a real confidence booster for the whole team,” Eggleton said. “Coming off back-to-back losses, we needed a game and performance like this one.” 

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