With the first game butterflies out of the way, the Valley Catholic girls’ soccer team got back to its superior, butt-kicking manner on Tuesday against Corbett.

Following a slightly lackluster 2-1 season-opening win over La Salle on Sep. 7 the Valiants extinguished the Cardinals with a four-goal first half and eased to a 7-0 on Tuesday at home.

“We had a lot of team chemistry, which was amazing,” said Sarah Connelly. “Last game we didn’t play to our full potential. We didn’t work well together and today, we worked as well as we could, which is what we were looking for.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Sarah Connelly had three assists and a goal in the Valiants 7-0 rout over Corbett on Tuesday.

Connelly was Valley’s maestro in the midfield, controlling the Valiants’ offense in the center of the pitch by either distributing to her cutting teammates Meredith Woolverton and Ella Turkot or using her after burners to blow by the Corbett defense.

On one particular play, the senior took a lob pass over the shoulder, controlled it between two defenders, spun and passed it to a darting Turkot on the left side of the field. Moving left, Turkot kicked the ball towards the right corner of the goal, past the Cardinal keeper and into the goal to go up 2-0.

Two minutes later, Connelly scored a goal of her own to go up 3-0. Then, Turkot freed herself with a fancy dribble move that set up Maricela Jaroch for the fourth and final goal of the first half.

Once Connelly and company decided to put their foot on the gas, all Corbett could do was warm up the bus in the parking lot.

“I just wanted to get everyone a touch on the ball,” said Connelly, who had three assists. “I wanted to get everyone used to passing and making plays off of each other, so for later games, we’re more prepared for that. Once we get that feeling of ‘Oh, we know who we’re passing with and what we’re going to do,’ it all comes together. It makes a beautiful game of soccer.”

Turkot said the Valiants learned how to play better as a team against Corbett than they did against La Salle in a close 2-1 win. Valley moved the ball smoothly on offense and cornered the lion’s share of possessions. The junior forward started taking the open space and looking for scoring chances Then, if nothing was open, she dropped it off to a teammate. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic junior Ella Turkot looks for an open teammates in the midfield in the first half of the Valiants 7-0 win versus Corbett.

“I think that was a better balanced type of play than just trying to juggle it up the center,” said Turkot. “We had a lot of good combinations through the middle. We started looking less for straight opportunities to the goal but more for whether our teammate had a better chance or better shot.”

Valley set up camp in its half of the field and monopolized possession of the ball with crisp, contagious passing that was all set up by Connelly’s willingness to dish, rather than shoot. Connelly led the Valiants in scoring her first three years at Valley, but head coach Kayla Crandall and the staff challenged the senior to be more of a playmaker as well.

“We were able to get so many people involved into our attack,” said Crandall. “We needed this game. It was good for us to see that we can still play like we were last year. We still have the ability to pass the ball around and be able to create so many opportunities. It let the girls settle down and realize we can still do this.”

At halftime, Crandall spurred her team on to not let Corbett get any shots or goals in the second half, despite the big lead. Valley’s defense of Mikaela Bernards, Erin McLoughlin, Regan Torres, and goalie Amanda Carrera held true on the backend, shrouding the Cardinal offense in the final 40 minutes.

Bernard, Makenzee Cleveland and Reilly Blood all added goals in the second half. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic sophomore forward Maricela Jaroch shoots the Valiants fourth goal of the first half in the Valiants 7-0 win over Corbett.

“Obviously, we wanted to keep playing together and get some shots off, but we wanted to make sure we were focused and not give up because we were winning by so much,” said Connelly.

Turkot is a 6-foot transfer from archrival Catlin Gabel who’s aware of Valley’s state title potential and close-knit chemistry. The forward said she didn’t know what to expect other than good soccer, but she’s enjoyed getting her bearings with the rest of the Valiants.

“I’m stoked to be on this team,” said Turkot. “The chemistry is great, and the camaraderie off the field is awesome too. It’s like a sisterhood, so I’m really excited for the season.”

Connelly noted Turkot’s ability to win balls out of the air with her height and leaping ability are a major weapon near the goal.

“She’s our secret weapon with that,” said Connelly. “We have plays that we do that focus on her getting the ball on her head and in the back of the net. She’s definitely helped us with that, and she’s a great player with her skills. She’s also a great person, so we enjoy having her on the team.”

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