Tigers start fast, top MCC 2-1 to run winning streak to three heading into district playoff opener

Holy Trinity's Charna Black (in whte) and Abbey Lestrange of MCC look to get control of the ball during Wednesday night's game. The Tigers scored twice in the first 20 minutes and went on to beat the Hustlers 2-1 at MCC.

The Holy Trinity girls soccer team is starting to put it all together at just the right time.

Eighth-grader Greer Reynolds scored just over one minute into the game and junior Allie Chamberland added another goal at the 20-minute mark as the Tigers went on the road and defeated Melbourne Central Catholic 2-1 in a Class 3A, District 10 matchup.

“I thought the goals were really good,” Tigers coach Joey Messina said. “The first goal, we forced and error and Greer … her first touch was fantastic. She took the center back out of the game and was (one-on-one) with the goalkeeper. Really good.

“The second goal, same thing. Forced an error and scored in transition. Really good goal.”

As well as the Tigers played early on, it was Melbourne Central Catholic that seemed to really come on, particularly in the second half. But although the Hustlers (11-5-2) were able to get a goal on a header by Hannah Atchison off a set play, they could never really threaten the Tigers in the run of play.

“I think we played really good in the first quarter,” Holy Trinity sophomore Averie Schweitzer said. “In the second quarter, we were going a little down. The second half wasn’t that good.

“… The early lead really helped us.”

And as sophomore Emerson Euziere pointed out, “at least we worked hard all the way through. That was good.”

The Tigers (4-3-1), who have now won three in a row, will be the fourth seed in next week’s district tournament. Holy Trinity is scheduled to host No. 5 Lincoln Park Academy (5-7) Monday night at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

Should the Tigers advance to the semifinals, they would face No. 1 West Shore (12-2-2) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at MCC.

The Hustlers are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and are scheduled to host John Carroll Catholic in the quarterfinals. MCC could potentially face Edgewood or Cocoa Beach in Wednesday’s semifinals.

The championship game is set for Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at MCC.

Holy Trinity, which started the season with a rash of injuries and illnesses, is finally starting to get back to full strength at just the right time.

“Honestly, I feel like we’re in a good way right now,” Messina said. “We’re like a new team. When school started back up (after the winter break), we got everyone fit except for one player. So, when everyone’s fit and everyone’s available, we have 17 players that are good.”

That’s a far cry from earlier in the year when the Tigers were missing five starters for a game against Satellite and had only one player on the bench.

“Having a lot of people come back really helped, having more subs and being able to work better as a team,” Euziere said.

With five seventh and eighth graders – and no seniors -- on the roster, the Tigers have been able to get their younger players some valuable experience this season which should bode well for both the present and the future.

And the Tigers certainly got strong performances Wednesday night from Greer; Chamberland; Schweitzer; Euziere; Kendall Harrison; Ava Knight; Valentina Velarde; Aislin Scully; Catherine McCarthy; Charna Black; Bianca Fontanin; Riley Roche; Lani Watt and goalkeeper Evie Rittenhouse.

“We got all our starters back, so now we’re set,” Schweitzer said. “At practice, we make sure we incorporate everybody, but the starters really work hard.”

So, with the district playoffs set to begin, the Tigers feel like they’re playing well.

“Yes, we are,” Euziere said. “Definitely a big improvement from the beginning of the season.”