Kriz, Flores float Thomas Dale
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Apr 25, 2013, 14:50
Thomas Dale junior Bridget Schindel shields the ball from L.C. Bird junior Leohana Carrera during a non-district game on Monday in Chester. The Knights won 3-0 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
CHESTER – Thomas Dale multi-sport athletes Becky Kriz and Regan Flores are a force to be reckoned with in front of goal, be it with stick in hand or ball at feet.
Just ask L.C. Bird.
Buoyed by two goals from Kriz and one from Flores, the Knights’ girls soccer team defeated the visiting Skyhawks 3-0 in a non-district game on Monday at Ed Karpus Field. Last September, Flores scored three times and Kriz contributed an assist in a field hockey victory over their blue-clad, cross-town rivals.
Kriz, an attack-minded midfielder in both sports, said her on-field chemistry with Flores was forged by familiarity. “We play every sport together,” the junior said. “So we’re always ready for each other’s passes.”
Thomas Dale coach John Kabler said he was largely pleased with Monday’s dominant display, but he tempered his praise with one caveat.
“Possession was super today. Defense – no problems whatsoever,” Kabler said. “We controlled the midfield, but we just need to start putting some more shots away.”
Thomas Dale junior Becky Kriz scored twice against L.C. Bird on Monday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
Thomas Dale’s three goals were born of 20 shots on frame, though the reigning Central District champions hit the crossbar on three occasions.
After a slew of squandered opportunities, Flores opened the scoring just after the midway point of the first half. The move began with Katie Waring’s thoughtful pass between a pair of defenders near the right sideline.
Flores latched onto the ball, barreled towards goal and dispatched a right-footed shot that settled in the side netting at the far post.
“She’s very fast and she has enough ball skills to get around people,” Kabler said of Flores. “Our offense runs through her. So if she has a bad day, there’s a good chance that our offense is going to have a bad day.”
Thomas Dale enjoyed a lop-sided share of the ball and played with all 10 field players in L.C. Bird’s half of the field for long stretches in the first half. But for all their possession, the Knights couldn’t add to their 1-0 advantage before the halftime whistle.
A disconnect between the home team’s midfielders and forwards resulted in several offside calls that thwarted would-be break-away opportunities.
“They were salivating knowing that if they got by it would just be them and the goalie,” Kabler said. “But you have to make sure that pass has been made before you start taking off down the field.”
Kriz removed the suspense from the game in the second half by striking twice in an eight-minute span. Her first goal came in the 61st minute when Bridget Schindel’s cross-field pass meandered its way through a crowded penalty box until it reached Kriz at the back post.
With only the goalkeeper to beat, Kriz sent a waist-high effort back across the face of goal to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
“I like being one on one with the goalie and knowing there’s only one person that can stop you,” Kriz said. “You just have to take your chances.”
She reiterated her ability to do just that in the 69th minute following Thomas Dale’s sixth corner kick of the match. Once again, a bouncing ball again found its way to her feet and Kriz converted in clinical fashion to provide the final margin.
L.C. Bird goalkeeper Autumn Joyal made 17 saves, a staggering work load highlighted by a pair of reaction stops that kept the score at 1-0 with 26 minutes remaining.
The game was the first of eight in a 12-day stretch for Thomas Dale, which improved to 5-1 on the season. Five of those games are against Central District opponents, and Kabler said there is no room for error if his team is going to overtake Prince George as the district’s No. 1 seed.
“I’m trying to get them to focus and understand the pressure that’s on us,” Kabler said. “If we tie a game, that could be it for us. It could mean we end up playing Cosby in the first round of the [Central] Region tournament.”