Some soccer passes are so good, the person scoring feels sheepish about getting all the glory.

Which brings us to Lia Ward, who accounted for all of the scoring in Normal Community High School's 1-0 victory over visiting University High in the 22nd annual Intercity Tournament on Thursday.

Ward's 10-yard shot with 35:27 left was made easy by assist artist Hanah Crowder. 

"Our coach told us to make switching runs because that's obviously what would get us around the back of their defense," Ward said.

"Hanah had a great ball through the split. I just touched it past the goalkeeper and scored and went to congratulate Hanah because that was a really nice pass." 

That pass helped NCHS, which has won three outright Intercity titles since sharing the crown in 2015, improve to 3-0-1 overall and 1-0 in the tournament while U High fell to 2-2-1 and 1-1-1. 

Meanwhile, in a game moved from Normal West to Bloomington because of field conditions, Audrey Marsaglia's hat trick helped the Wildcats (2-3-1, 2-0-1) win, 5-0, over BHS (1-5, 0-3). The tournament resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday when NCHS visits West.


The Lady Iron, who outshot their guest, 17-2, had several near misses, bouncing a shot off the left post with 18:33 left before Ward hit the crossbar with 7:06 to go.

"The second half, we got it together and started making better passes," Ward said. "I'm more than ecstatic with how well this team has been doing so far."

U High goalie Sophie Dorgan impressed NCHS coach Matt Chapman.

"Their goalkeeper was terrific," he said. "She's been terrific for a while, but she was really good today."

Chapman credited the one goal to teamwork.

"We finally connected on some passes and some runs up front," he said. "Part of that was U High was playing really good defense today. They were clogging up the middle. We couldn't get the kind of attacks going that we wanted to."

U High coach Hayley Sefton also saw a lot to like.

"Playing Community on their home field is always really hard because they are fantastic every year," she said. "Our defense was outstanding. Sophie did a heck of a job. She was making some fantastic saves, one right after another."

Sefton gives her young squad, which started three freshmen and one sophomore, high marks for executing adjustments.

"They are so coachable," she said. "So far every game we've gotten better. What more can you ask for?"

Normal West-BHS

Marsaglia and Annie Hollins opened the scoring for Normal West before Marsaglia struck again off an assist from Illinois-Springfield recruit Rylee Billington. After an own goal, Marsaglia ended the scoring off an assist from Hanna Simmons. 

"Audrey is finally finding her form," said West coach Val Walker, whose star has scored all four of her goals this season in the past two games. "She is getting her confidence back.

"We've been working on shooting and finishing. We're getting back to where we need to be."

Last season, Marsaglia was the Pantagraph area's fourth-leading scorer with 22 goals as the Wildcats went 20-7-3 to finish fourth in the Class 2A state tournament.

"I don't think she played travel last fall so she's just getting back the touch and the confidence in front of the goal," said Walker, whose team outshot BHS, 15-0.

Walker expects Saturday's match with NCHS to test his squad.

"I hope our girls are confident and come for a fight because they are a good team and it is going to be a battle," he said.

Contact Randy Sharer at (309) 820-3405. Follow him on Twitter: @PG_sharer



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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