Everything Greenwood lacked Tuesday, Northside had in doses. Speed, precision, skill and focus all leaned the Lady Bears’ way.
Yuri Richardson, Josie Betancourt and Giselle Carrera all scored as Northside moved back to even in 7A/6A-Central with a 3-0 win against the Lady Bulldogs at Mayo-Thompson Stadium.
It was Richardson who provided the most trouble. The Northside midfielder had the team’s first true scoring chance, the first goal, an assist and a hockey assist — the pass that led to the pass that scored. It was her play from the slot in midfield that keyed every worthwhile Northside attack.
"She’s a really good player. Really good," Northside coach Ashley Lemley said. "She gets it. Soccer smart and makes it happen."
Richardson broke the stalemate in the 40th minute, just 37 seconds before the halftime buzzer. Monica Uribe sent an early cross from the left side that took a couple bounces before Richardson pounced after making a run directly through the middle of the Greenwood defense, unmarked until she came within 12 yards of the goal. It was too late by then.
Just six minutes into the second half, she was the one doing the set up. She sent a 35-yard through ball into open space for Giselle Carrera down the right sideline. Carrera corralled it 20 yards from the end line and looked up to find Josie Betancourt making a far-post run. The cross bounced once, found Betancourt’s foot and the Northside forward’s awkward-foot shot found the bottom corner of the net for a 2-0 Northside (2-2 7A/6A Central) lead.
In between, Richardson’s through-ball to Carrera down the middle of the field nearly made it a two-goal lead three minutes before it came to fruition. Carrera’s second-touch shot had the Greenwood goalkeeper beat, but skidded about a foot wide of the goal from 15 yards.
"That Richardson girl, she’s tough," Greenwood coach Andrew Post said. "She’s got some height to her, she’s vicious and she’s not going to let anybody win the ball from her. I think we’ve got to learn how to play with those players and not get on the back of our heels."
The Lady Bulldogs (0-2) did that all too often Tuesday.
Greenwood’s chances were few. The counter-attack style Post preferred led a couple of chances but a fleet Northside back line beat Greenwood’s forwards to the ball time and again. Only twice did the Lady Bulldogs send troubling shots toward Northside’s goal.
"We had some mental lapses, coming back from Spring Break we’re not our sharpest," Post said. "It’s so mental to give a goal with one minute left in the half. We just didn’t seem like we recovered and they scored two more."
Carrera finally tallied in the 64th minute when she sprinted solo down the left side and sent an angled blast untouched to the top of the net.
Northside 5, Greenwood 0
BOYS — Angel Parga’s hat trick, including two in a matter of 100 seconds, was plenty as Northside eased its way past Greenwood in the nightcap.
The Grizzlies (3-1) controlled a wide majority of the play from the opening kick. Parga scored on a penalty after being taken down in the box in the seventh minute and added another in open play in the eighth. The earliness of the goals helped settle any nerves, Northside coach Mauricio Maciel said.
"That was key for us this game. Although we prepare them, if the goals don’t come early we’re not going to get anxious and out of our game, but good for us, deservedly so, the goals came early,"
Greenwood’s (2-2) best chance came on an inbound throw from Kevin in the 38th minute when his flip toss about 30 yards went straight into the arms of Northside goalkeeper Erick Hernandez just off the line. Ten seconds later the Grizzlies were countering and came within 15 yards of goal, ball-on-foot, before the Bulldogs recovered to clear it.
"They’re very good. You play teams like this and the quality of the players, the incredible quality of the coaching, we lose 5-0 and I can’t help but think it makes us better," Post said.
Parga capped his night in the 50th minute when he tore away from a defender and sent a blast from 17 yards saved by the Greenwood keeper. The rebound came directly back to Parga and he volleyed the return into the back of the net.
Jesus Manjarez and Samuel Iraburo scored in the 58th and 80th minutes to provide the final score.
The defending 7A champions remain a game behind Little Rock Catholic, the only team to beat Northside, for first place in the Central.