Both Stephenville soccer programs had title defense on their minds Friday in their opening matches of the Knights of Columbus Challenge of Champions soccer tournament.
The opening day of the Honeybees’ title defense couldn’t have gone much better Friday as they outscored both Waco Connally and Lorena 11-0 on the day.
In their opening match against Waco Connally, the Honeybees’ dominance was on display from the opening kickoff in what resulted in an 8-0 win.
It didn’t take but a few minutes of play for Stephenville’s Claire Choate to open the scoring, which was followed up minutes later with a close finish from forward Gracie Bales after a Choate shot ricocheted off the Lady Cadet keeper’s hands and off the crossbar to double the Honeybees’ lead.
Perhaps the moment of the match was Stephenville’s final goal of the first half, an absolute wonder shot from Savannah Alford.
Late in the half, Alford dribbled forward from her deep role in the midfield and eventually let fly from close to 35 yards out tucking the ball perfectly into the top corner.
Holding a 3-0 lead entering the second half, the Honeybee offense didn’t let off the gas eventually adding five more goals to their tally, including Alford and Bales hitting their braces early in the period.
Also scoring in the half was Natalie Elizondo, while Railee Reed scored twice.
The day was later capped off with a 3-0 win over Lorena, thanks to goals from Alexis De Los Santos, Hayleigh Beam and Brinkley Harlow.
Also beginning their title defense Friday were the Yellow Jackets who had matches against Saginaw and Lorena.
The Yellow Jackets and Saginaw played the tournament opening game in what was a very open contest offensively.
The Rough Riders almost broke open the game in the opening moments as a Stephenville turnover resulted in a good Saginaw opportunity on goal, but the shot was pushed wide.
Minutes later, the Rough Riders made up for that miss sliding in a low cross that flew across the penalty area into the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead
Saginaw eventually scored another goal on a similar play and led most of the match by two goals.
However, Stephenville did manage to create a moment of brilliance late on as Ivan Cabrera finished nicely inside the box to cut the deficit to one.
Saginaw eventually held on to a 2-1 lead as the final whistle blew giving the tournament’s reigning champions an early slip up.
The early loss didn’t linger long on Stephenville’s players as they won their second game of the day, 4-2 over Lorena.
Aaron Veloz was the main pipeline of offense finishing with a brace, while Tino Rocha and Ivan Cabrera also scored.
With the first day’s fixtures completed, the Honeybees will wrap up pool play Saturday morning at 9 a.m. against Everman, while the Yellow Jackets will kick off at 10:30 a.m. in the tournament’s semifinal match.