The Helias Lady Crusaders are scoring goals at an alarming rate. A formation change has proven to be the final piece of the puzzle.
Following a 2013 season that saw Helias dominate possession but struggle with production at times, head coach Brad Dempsey and assistant coach Mike Metzger decided to switch from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1.
The subtle change has paid dividends, as Helias has scored 21 goals in the first three games of the season. The offensive resurgence continued Monday as Helias blasted Battle 10-0 in barely 55 minutes of play at the 179 Soccer Park.
"We changed it to make sure the people that need to be attacking are attacking and can score goals," Helias senior Becky Roberts said.
Well, those goals are coming in bunches. Roberts, Jordan Poire and Tiffany Weaver both scored two goals Monday night, while Morgan Rundle, Maddie Lammers, Lexy Lamb and Kaysie Scheuler added one apiece.
"We all have goals from different people," Poire said. "Everyone's scoring, so that feels pretty good."
Seven girls have already scored goals for Helias this season. That senior trio of Roberts (six), Weaver (five) and Poire (three) have led the way. Rundle (three), and Lammers (two) are the other girls with multiple goals in 2014.
"We've all played together for years and our attack has just been a lot better this year," Weaver said, pointing out the senior trio has played together since grade school. "We just know each other and what's going to happen."
The formation change has been beneficial from top to bottom. Defenders, midfielders and attackers are all part of Helias' early season success.
"All of them put in the work in the offseason," Dempsey said. "They want to be great. "They deserve it, they're earning it."
Although Helias ended the game early on the 10-goal mercy rule, it took the Lady Crusaders a little time to get going. The dominant possession was there, the goals were not.
Helias barraged the Battle goal with 26 shots in the opening half, 13 of them on net. Yet only five of them found the back of the net.
Weaver broke the deadlock 13 minutes into the game. It was nearly 12 minutes later when Rundle got hers.
With just two goals to show in 31 minutes, the Lady Crusaders began to turn it on, scoring three more in the final nine minutes of the first half. Poire, Lammers and Roberts tallied to make it 5-0 at halftime.
"It was sloppy at first, everybody's running forward," Dempsey said. "You got to see in the second half the kind of shape we're trying to get. We're not forcing stuff, we're not turning it over, we're pinging it around. Our goal is to get to be able to do that against a really strong opponent. If we can get to be able to do that, I think we can be a really great team."
Helias was much more efficient in the second half, scoring five goals on nine shots (eight on goal). It took just 14 minutes, 17 seconds for the Lady Crusaders to get those five goals and end the game.
Roberts scored just 79 seconds in, tapping in a low cross. Poire added her second goal seven minutes into the half on a rocket from the top of the box. Weaver made it 8-0 just 40 seconds later.
Lamb tapped in a rebound 12 minutes in before Scheuler - making her season debut after a foot injury during basketball season - ended the contest at the 25:43 mark on a blast from the left side.
"She was a huge part of our team last year, and we're really happy to have her back," Dempsey said.
Roberts collected two assists, while Rundle, Poire, Abby Rockers, Meghan Nappier and Lamb added one each. Sydnee Kliethermes and Ashley Rehagen combined for the shutout in goal.
"I saw a lot of possession and lot of good things happening," Roberts said. "We played quick and fast and found feet like we need to."
Helias (2-1) travels Wednesday to take on defending Class 1 state champion Duchesne.
"We're really looking forward to the test on Wednesday," Dempsey said.
Helias won the JV game 10-0 to improve to 3-0.
Kelsey Shenewerk, Sarah Pierle and Kayla Yankskey scored two goals apiece. Sydney Schrag, Maggie Kehoe, Julie Harris and Claire Ludwig had one goal each. Pierle had three assists, while Olivia Wolken picked up the shutout in net.
The JV team defeated Quincy Notre Dame 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Pierle picked up the goal, while Yanksey had the assist. Rehagen recorded the shutout in goal.