Cruthirds’ hat trick raises Lady Griffins past Dominican into quarterfinals

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Lexi Gibbs battles Dominican’s Cristina Keiffer for possession in the first half of the Lady Griffins’ 3-0 Division I regional playoff victory Tuesday night.

GEISMAR ­– Dutchtown’s Chelsea Cruthirds provided a hat trick scoring every goal in a 3-0 shutout over St. Mary’s Dominican in the Division I regional playoffs Tuesday night at Griffin Field.

Cruthirds scored in the third minute and added two second-half goals to secure the playoff victory.

“When we came out, we were extremely focused and really full of intensity,” Dutchtown head coach Anant Vyas said. “I was happy. This team, they are going to do well. It worked out very good.

“We get into positions which are easy to finish from. Those are the keys. The pace of the ball is high and we keep the shot low.”

No. 7 seed Dutchtown advances to face second seeded Fontainebleau, a 3-1 winner over Acadiana, in the quarterfinals. It is the Lady Griffins’ deepest run since falling to Dominican, the eventual state champion, in the semifinals of 2007.

Cruthirds tracked a long pass from Lexi Gibbs off a defensive steal and when Dominican goalkeeper Emily Cobena went left, turned right floating it into the goal with 37:18 left in the half on the clock.

“We caught them flat footed and got the pass through the defense,” Vyas said. “After that goal we basically didn’t allow any easy shots on the other side. One time there was a scuffle. I was very happy at half-time to get out with a 1-0 lead because that goal play really changed the momentum for them.”

Dutchtown goalie Taylor Kelley was pulled from the net during a barrage at the goal late in the first half but recovered to gather the ball.

The Lady Griffins would get two attempts from Emily Rezac on a breakaway, a corner kick from Lindi Robicheaux and a far shot by Megan Romaire before half-time.

“Every now and then, in the playoffs, teams need to get that lucky bounce,” Dominican head coach Al Silvas said. “Unfortunately tonight, they got the goal in the first five minutes. In the second half, we changed some things around and had numerous opportunities.”

Dominican controlled the early part of the second half out shooting the Lady Griffins. Cristina Keiffer’s header in the 48 minute went over the goal before another attempt went wide right 10 minutes later.

Cruthirds eluded two defenders and buried a kick into the top right corner off an awkward stance a minute later to put the Lady Griffins ahead 2-0. She said it was a shot you dream about.

“We had somebody on Chelsea’s right hip and she just turned and buried a ball that most professionals can’t make,” Silvas said. “She was huge tonight for them and with that goal it opened it up for them. It is tough to make a shot like that and tonight the soccer gods were there for her and put it in the back of the net. That definitely changed the momentum.”

Cruthirds final score came on a penalty kick into the right side of the net after Lauren LeCompte was called for a hand ball inside Domincan’s penalty box in the 66 minutes.

Cobena and Kelley each finished with nine saves.

Dutchtown’s Annie Etzel drives downfield ahead of Dominican’s Cristina Keiffer in the first of the Lady?Griffins 3-0 regional playoff victory Tuesday night.