Parras Vega racked up a hat trick and four other St. Mary’s players scored goals in a runaway 7-0 win over John Swett on Wednesday in Berkeley.
The Panthers evened their BSAL record at 2-2 on the season (5-3 overall), while John Swett dropped to 0-5 overall.
The tone of the game was set right away, as Vega took the kickoff, played a give-and-go with a teammate, then dribbled past four Swett players before sliding the ball past goalkeeper Stevani Verducci.
“I didn’t even see the first goal,” St. Mary’s coach Donny McGuire said. “I was looking at some paperwork, and the whistle blew. I looked up and we were running back to the center circle. I had to ask one of my players what happened.”
The Panthers would score two more goals in quick succession. The goals came from Alythea Morrell and Chelsea Sera, with Sera’s coming from a rebound off of a Vega shot.
The only reason the score wasn’t out of hand at halftime was the solid play of Verducci, who made 12 saves in the half on her way to 19 in the game. But with the Panthers constantly knocking at the doorstep of the goal, Verducci was eventually worn down. She started snapping at her defenders for letting St. Mary’s attackers through, and looked exhausted by the end of the game. She got the worst of several collisions with Panther players, mostly on breakaways.
Although the Panthers would score four more goals in the second half, it was clear that McGuire took it easy, pulling Vega and freshman striker Margot Davis back into defensive positions for most of the half.
“We’ve been in the situation where you’re getting shelled, and it’s not the right thing to do,” McGuire said. “There’s no reason to keep piling on the goals when you’ve clearly got the game won.”
But for the short time Davis was up front, she was a force. Vega set her free for a 50-yard solo run early in the half, and the freshman calmly dribbled around the diving Verducci for her only goal of the game.
Even when the Panthers made a mistake, it usually turned out for the best. Vega tried to put a throw-in to Davis’s feet, but Davis missed the trap. The ball, however, bounced between two Swett players straight to St. Mary’s Caelin Boman in front of the goal, and it was an easy score. Vega scored the final two goals of the game, both on breakaways, to complete her hat trick.
“Today was good practice for us, and a confidence-builder,” McGuire said of his team’s romp over its winless opponent. “We got to work on our positioning, our passing, and setting up goals during a live game, and that’s very helpful.”