GODFREY — A hiccup early in Wednesday’s game put the L&C Trailblazers in an unusual position against Heartland: They trailed.
Heartland took advantage of some disorganized L&C defense in the fourth minute and took a 1-0 lead. But the Trailblazers righted the ship quickly, scored 10 unanswered goals and rolled to a 10-1 home victory.
Boitumelo Rabale led the way with five goals and three assists for No. 11-ranked L&C. The sophomore from Lesotho has 16 goals and seven assists on the season.
“I’m not sure why it was,” L&C coach Tim Rooney said, “but we let Heartland beat us to the ball. I think that goal woke us up a little, but we need to play at the same level of intensity no matter who we’re playing.”
The victory lifted the Trailblazers to 5-2 overall, 3-0 in Region 24. Their losses were to two other nationally ranked teams Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 in Wichita, Kansas. They have been untouchable since returning, blanking Lincoln Trail 13-0, Southeastern Iowa 8-0 and Wabash Valley 6-0 prior to Wednesday’s game.
Heartland’s early lead came when Kayla James intercepted an errant L&C attempt at clearing the ball. She finished it off when the L&C defense misplayed the ball.
“You can’t let that happen,” Rooney said. “You can get into bad habits when you do things like that but still win.”
The Hawks’ lead lasted only 44 seconds, thanks to Rabale and Emma Lucas, who combined on a goal off the ensuing kickoff.
The goals came in bunches for the Trailblazers from that point.
Rabale scored in the sixth minute from an assist by Candice Parziani to make it 2-1.
Chelsea Riden then got an assist from Rabale three minutes later to make it 3-1 and the rout was on.
The Trailblazers added three more goals in the first half to take a 6-1 lead at halftime.
Rabale made it 4-1 in the 15th minute when she took a pass from Payton Corley with a blast from the right side of the penalty area that hit the inside of the net near the left goal post.
Two minutes later, it was Candice Parziani who made it 5-1 for L&C after she took a pass from Rabale.
Carley Smith’s left-footed blast from 17 yards in the 19th minute gave the Trailblazers the 6-1 lead.
Rabale scored from a Lucas assist less than a minute into the second half to make it 7-1. She then scored after taking a pass from L&C goalie Mercedes King, making it 8-1 with 32:31 remaining.
Lucas capped the scoring with a pair of goals. With 31:05 left, she scored off an assist from Ella Kiely, a freshman midfielder and from an assist by Parziani with 1:37 remaining.
Kiely, a sophomore midfielder from Fort Zumwalt West, drew particular praise from Rooney.
“(Kiely) works really hard and makes things happen,” Rooney said. “She did a really good job today.”
The game was played in 90-degree temperatures and the teams were given a water break midway through each half.
The Trailblazers will have a week off the recover for their next game, a Region 24 game against Kaskaskia in Centralia.
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