Helias girls blank Moberly

Becky Roberts of Helias heads the ball above Moberly’s Alli Armstrong during Tuesday night’s game at the 179 Soccer Park.

Becky Roberts of Helias heads the ball above Moberly’s Alli Armstrong during Tuesday night’s game at the 179 Soccer Park. Katie Alaimo

Going almost a whole week without a game didn’t seem to hamper the Helias girls soccer team in the least.

The Lady Crusaders played keep-away for most of Tuesday night’s game with the Moberly Lady Spartans, possessing the ball for roughly 76 of the 80 minutes at the 179 Soccer Park.

And they didn’t just hold on to the ball, as the Lady Crusaders squeezed off 60 shots in the contest. While there were plenty that failed to find the mark, with just 27 of them being on goal, it was enough to help Helias roll to a 7-0 victory.

It was a case of practice makes perfect for the Lady Crusaders.

“Off of four days off, we came back and practiced (Monday) and our practice came specifically after us watching film and getting a good look at what we need to improve on,” Helias coach Brad Dempsey said. “We’ve turned the ball over way too much in the early part of the season, although we have played some quality opponents.”

There were two keys going into the contest.

“Our focus defensively was to keep our shape and always be there when we lost the ball,” Dempsey said. “And then our focus offensively was to cover space and play good balls and not put our teammates in a situation where we play them the ball where they’re going to lose it.”

It meant that most of the game, the Lady Spartans were chasing after players who took precise passes and then raced upfield.

“It was always be productive with our passes,” Dempsey said. “And the girls responded — they did a great job tonight.”

It took the Lady Crusaders just three minutes to get their first score, as Jordan Poire settled a loose ball and then hammered it past the Moberly keeper.

A little more than 10 minutes later, Helias made it 2-0 when Tiffany Weaver sent a nice crossing pace to Becky Roberts, who put it home.

Then with six minutes left before halftime, the Lady Crusaders got the 3-0 lead they would take into the break when Poire won the ball in a scramble and slotted it home to the upper left corner of the goal.

The first half ended with Helias holding a 26-0 edge in shots, with 12 of them on goal. Despite that, and a 9-0 advantage in corner kicks, the Lady Crusaders were having a little trouble finishing.

“I started moving players in and out right away — you’ve got to keep fresh legs when you’re going to play five games in one week,” Dempsey said. “I think (leading just 3-0) was a lack of being on the same page. We were early, we didn’t time our runs well on our corner kicks. We were so close, just a little off.”

Helias racked up 34 more shots in the second half, 15 of them on goal.

The Lady Crusaders made it 4-0 with 28 minutes left when Roberts scored her second goal of the game off an assist from Poire. Then five minutes later, Kendall Smith’s pretty pass found Weaver for a 5-0 lead.

The next Helias goal wouldn’t come for more than 20 minutes, as Caitlin Luebbert scored off a nifty pass from Sydnee Kliethermes with 1:33 left.

Luebbert then scored with just 12 seconds left off a rebound in the box.

“For us, it’s always rewarding to get lots of people involved,” Dempsey said. “Caitlin Luebbert came off the bench and got two — she’s a senior and she’s such a great kid that to see her get in there and do it is nice. She’s very capable of that.”

Kliethermes worked the first half in goal and Ashley Rehagen played the second half, with neither facing a shot while combining on the shutout.

“Getting a chance to develop our young keeper (Rehagen) is good,” Dempsey said. “We have two really good goalkeepers and they’re working really well together.”

Helias, which improved to 8-5, got plenty of playing time for everyone on the roster.

“It was a good night for us, because (tonight) we go to Smith-Cotton, who’s improved, then we’ve got the Capital City (Invitational) this weekend.

“I think it’s all developing, our schedule is preparing us. We talked about it (Monday) in our team meeting before practice. We have a long way to go and we have to do it in a short amount of time against a tough schedule.”

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