CANTON -- Riley Rose’s hat trick was the difference as Etowah went on the road and beat Creekview 3-2 on Tuesday.
Etowah (4-10) had already been eliminated from the playoffs in Region 4AAAAAAA, but it still took plenty of motivation into the match against a county rival in the Lady Grizzlies.
“Unfortunately, the playoffs were not in the cards for us this year,” Etowah coach Lindsey Alexander said. “This isn’t a playoff game or a region game, but we wanted to treat it like one. It’s a county rival, one of the best teams in the county the last couple years. We wanted to show up and give it all we could.”
While Etowah was motivated coming into the game, Creekview (9-4-1) jumped ahead early. Off the opening kickoff, the Lady Grizzlies moved the ball downfield to set up Alexa Avery’s goal just 59 seconds into the game.
“I thought we played great for about the first minute,” Creekview coach Kerri Schmitt said. “Obviously, we got ourselves out front, but I think we got a little complacent after that. We just weren’t as aggressive, and it hurt us.”
If complacency set in for Creekview, Etowah did well to take advantage.
Just 4 minutes later, Bri Garcia found Rose open in the box for her first goal to knot the game at 1-all, and 10 minutes after that, Rose got on the end of a long ball down the sideline and beat the keeper to put the Lady Eagles ahead 2-1 with 25:10 to play in the first half.
It took nearly 45 minutes of game play for either team to strike again, but Rose completed her hat trick and gave Etowah a cushion with her third goal with 20:46 to play.
“It’s not surprising at all,” Alexander said. “That’s just the kind of player she is. She had great energy. She’s very skilled, and when she gets opportunities, she’s good at finishing them.”
Creekview did have a final push in it, though.
Channing Pantano cut the deficit in half on a left-footed goal with 17:27 to play, but Etowah’s Ciara Catalan made three big saves down the stretch to stymie the comeback attempt.
Both teams will play again Friday. Etowah will travel to Norcross, while Creekview will clinch either the second or third seed for the playoffs with its final Region 6AAAAAA game against South Cobb.
“We need to learn from it,” Schmitt said. “I liked how we responded in the last 20 minutes or so, but we need to do more. That’s why you play these non-region games. You want to see where you need to get better and use it.”