by Roger Wistar
A strong start by the girls varsity soccer team continued unabated as the team scored five first-half goals en route to a 7-1 victory over NMH on Sep. 23.
Striker Louisa Essuman '20 scored two goals and added an assist, dazzling the fans with a display of footwork and precision shooting.
The highlight of the day came in the 28th minute when Essuman took a pass near midfield, dribbled past multiple defenders, slid effortlessly past a charging goalie and tapped the ball into a wide open net to make it 5-0.
"Louisa is growing in confidence and poise. We saw that today," said head coach Christy Cooper. "She will continue to work on coordination and timing with her teammates."
Also scoring goals for the Bearcats were strikers Charlotte McClure '21 and Hyla Mosher '19 with a pair each, and Sofia Weber '20 with one.
The team controlled possession and kept the pressure on for most of the game, outshooting the Hoggers 25-6 and leading in corners 8-1. Eight Hotchkiss players had multiple shots on the day, including Frances Astorian '18, Sadie Gould '20, Elizabeth McClure '19, and Keiko Smith '21.
The roster depth predicted by coaches in the preseason was on full display, as 20 players logged at least 20 minutes of game time, led by defenders Meredith Moran '19 and Sophie Rivest '19, who each played nearly the entire game.
Cooper had high praise for her whole back line, including Moran and Rivest in the center, Jillian Mazzocca '19 at right back, and the pair of Connie Shi '18 and Bonnie Dana '19 on the left.
Starting goalie Gillian Duquette '19 nearly recorded a shutout, stopping five of six shots faced and only conceding a late goal in the 79th minute.
The first-half goals came in a ten-minute barrage for Hotchkiss, beginning in the 18th minute when Essuman dribbled through traffic and curled a hard shot into the top-right corner of the net to give the home team a 1-0 advantage.
Hotchkiss would double its advantage less than three minutes later when a hard shot by Essuman banged off the crossbar and fell to the feet of Charlotte McClure, who slotted it home.
McClure and Weber increased the margin to 4-0 shortly thereafter with a pair of shots into the top corners of the net past the leaping NMH goalie.
In the second half, Mosher's star shone as she scored both her goals in a five-minute stretch in the middle of the period. Another crossbar shot, this one by Weber, rebounded to Mosher, who buried it in the back of the net to make the score 6-0.
Shortly after, Mosher received a pass just outside the box and buried a shot in the top left corner to finish scoring on the day for the Bearcats.
The upcoming week should prove a tough test for Hotchkiss, with a trio of games at Millbrook on Monday and home against Williston on Wednesday and Suffield on Saturday.