WOODSTOCK -- Etowah outscored Hillgrove 5-3 in the second half to pull away for an 11-7 win Friday in a non-area matchup of Class AAAAAAA contenders.
Hillgrove (9-4) got a goal with no time remaining in the first half to cut its deficit to 6-4, but Etowah (12-1) took a 3-1 advantage in the third quarter to create some breathing room for itssixth straight win.
“We just wanted to get back to controlling the tempo,” Etowah coach Mike Cintineo said. “We felt like we weren’t really playing our speed in the first half. We do better when we can get out and run and play physical. We were able to do that in the second half and get some breakaway goals.”
Etowah had no shortage of options on offense as six different players scored.
Carson Reeder and Zack Charitat each had three goals. Lincoln Beaham chipped in with a pair, while Jackson Muoio, Donovan Harike and Duncan Gandolfo had one apiece.
“We have a really good attack unit,” Cintineo said. “We have some veteran guys there we trust to make plays when we need them. We have a lot of options, so we feel like, when we’re executing, we can score with just about anyone.”
Hillgrove also had a balanced attack working with five different players scoring, but unforced errors proved too much to overcome.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Hillgrove coach Tarve Riggins said. “When we have a man advantage or we have an attack going, we can’t just throw it away. When we play good teams like this, we just seem to tighten up. Credit to Etowah, they played well, but we have to do more with our opportunities.”
Bayley May led Hillgrove with three goals. Carter Maurice, Trent Bruce, Robert Martin and Mason King also added a goal each for the Hawks.
Etowah will play Monday at Dalton, while Hillgrove will be off until Tuesday when it plays Kennesaw Mountain.
“We have another chance to beat a good team,” Riggins said. “I know we have the offense, but we have to get more guys on defense. We’re just getting too tired over there, and we need to be sharper if we want to make any kind of run.”