Phillips’ hat trick, Oak Hill’s strong offensive showing leads to victory over Indians

It was a high scoring affair between the Oak Hill Golden Eagles and the Mississinewa Indians under the lights of Fisher Field on Tuesday with both teams’ stars on full display.

At the end of the evening, however, a stellar performance from Tegan Phillips, together with overwhelming offensive pressure for most of the match, turned out to be the difference as the Golden Eagles came away with a 5-4 triumph over their longtime rival.

Phillips finished the game with a hat trick, two coming in the second half, while Carlee Biddle finished with a goal and an assist. Kristen Travis also scored for Oak Hill and Gillian Martinez added an assist on Biddle’s tally.

Alayna Webb, in her first game back since injuring her knee against Manchester, also collected a hat trick, while Audrey Spencer finished with a goal and two assists.

“[Alex] always has a strong team. He’s a great coach,” Mississinewa Head Coach Andrea Wilson said. “They move the ball well. We just couldn’t pull ahead far enough.”

The scoring started early and often, as Biddle found twine just 2:45 into the game to give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead, but Webb quickly tied it up less than two minutes later. After that, the Indians grabbed the momentum, challenging the Oak Hill defense and garnering several high-quality scoring chances.

At the 27:30 mark, Webb broke through again, firing the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to help the Indians regain the advantage.

However, after Webb’s second goal, the Golden Eagles took control, and while the Indians would score twice more, they dominated possession for the rest of the evening.

“We finally recovered. Our defense was questionable at best in the first half…but we came back and showed that we had heart,” Oak Hill Head Coach Alex Kenworthy said. “It was fun to see my girls step up, get aggressive, and have the determination to win this game.”

Over the final 20 minutes of the first half, the Golden Eagles seemingly lived on Mississinewa’s side of the pitch, peppering Indians’ goalkeeper Savannah Herrera with shots.

“They did a good job of just getting the ball back out very quickly,” Wilson said. “We tend to hold on to the ball a little too long down there. They did a good job of clearing it quickly to get it away from our offense so they couldn’t have those opportunities.”

The two teams combined for three more goals in the final 10:55 of the first half. Kristen Travis tied it up at 2-2, but the Indians were able to regain the advantage less than two minutes later. Webb’s corner kick found a crowd in front of the Golden Eagles’ net, and Spencer was able to squeak one past Oak Hill goalkeeper Sierra Bakehorn.

However, the Golden Eagles kept battling, and with 3:26 remaining, Phillips notched her first of the evening, tying the game at 3-3 heading into halftime.

Webb capped off her hat trick in the first 1:40 of the second half, sending another corner kick into the net, but after that, the Golden Eagles controlled the contest the rest of the way.

Oak Hill’s trio of Travis, Biddle, and Phillips kept up the pressure on Mississinewa’s defenders and recorded multiple scoring chances throughout the second half.

And in the final 24 minutes, Phillips put the Golden Eagles on her shoulders, scoring the game’s final two goals and securing Oak Hill’s hard-fought triumph.

“We got smarter.” Kenworthy said. “Our marks got tighter and we didn’t let them receive the ball. We stepped in front of them as opposed to playing behind them and letting them run at us and dribble at us. We beat a nice team, and I’m proud of the girls.”

Shots were 26-14 in favor of Oak Hill, including a 22-12 advantage in shots on frame. Bakehorn made eight saves for the Golden Eagles, while Herrera recorded 13 saves for the Indians.

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