Less dribbling and more passing.
That has been Burlington Central girls soccer coach Stephen Berry's message to his team recently. The Rockets kept possession with lots of short passes Friday evening and the result was a 7-0 Big Northern Conference crossover victory over visiting Byron.
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"That's what we've been stressing lately," Berry said. "We want to apply the things we're doing in training into the games, which is to possess the ball and cycle it around to many players to find what creates an opening."
Alyssa Messina netted her first career hat trick, scoring all 3 goals in an 8-minute span in the second half. All three of the goals came on nice passing combinations. Camille Dela Cruz found Cali Andrew, who then passed to Messina for a goal with 19:21 remaining in the second half for a 3-0 lead.
A little more than 5 minutes later, the same three combined for another goal as Messina tipped in a shot from Andrew. With 11:37 remaining, Ellen Jayne dribbled around several Byron defenders and slipped a pass into the box for Messina to easily put away for a 5-0 lead.
"I was just trying to get open and stay away from the defenders as much as I could," Messina said.
"She had a lot of one-touch finishes, which is good for Alyssa," Berry said. "Where she plays for us, she needs to be poaching around in front of the goal and getting little touches on the ball off of our wide players."
Tatiana Reyenoso and Karrington Bell scored in the first half to give Central (13-1-1) a 2-0 halftime lead. Yareli Vargas and Brittany Bourdage added late goals in the second half.
Taylor Martin and Ann Marie Hilton each made 1 save to combine for the shutout.