Hooten’s four goals lead John Carroll past Briarwood

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

HOMEWOOD – A trip to play the No. 1 team in Class 4A-5A was never going to be easy—especially when that team happens to play in your division—but the Briarwood Lions’ girls soccer team performed admirably, took an early lead and tied the game multiple times before ultimately falling to the John Carroll Cavaliers by a final of 5-3 in a hard-fought battle.

Briarwood (3-9-1) lost their first four games of the season, but has gone 3-5-1 since then and has made marked improvement since starting slow out of the gate.

The Lions’ first match against the Cavaliers played to a far less competitive 6-2 final and it’s clear a different team took the field against the top club in the state.

Just 10 minutes into the match Emma White sent a long pass down the right side to Anna Martin. Martin had to act quickly as she rushed to meet the ball before a charging Cavaliers’ goalie and chipped the ball over the defender into an open goal for a 1-0 lead.

John Carroll (10-3-1) answered just one minute later off a hand ball penalty kick and found more chances to score than Briarwood throughout the match.

The Cavs had six corner and free kicks combined in the first half to just one for the Lions, and they got their next goal on one of them.

A corner kick coming in from left to right flew over most of the players in the crowded box and glanced off the right goalpost.

John Carroll’s Lauren Hooten caught the rebound and fired a shot across her body into the left side of the net to give the Cavaliers their first lead of the game at 2-1.

White then responded for Briarwood, as she connected off a long cross from Olivia Ricks on the right side sending the ball into the left side of the goal to tie the game at two.

Hooten then went on to score for the third time in the first half for John Carroll four minutes before halftime on an improbable shot off a set piece 40 plus yards from the goal.

The ball angled perfectly just over the goalie’s hands to give the Cavs a 3-2 lead.

The Lions, fueled by a strong first half, stayed aggressive after halftime and made the most of their limited opportunities in a hostile environment. Bradford Latta spotted Emily Scott attacking down the left side and fired a pass across the field where Scott settled the ball with one defender to beat.

She went left initially then nudged the ball right to lose them and open a window for a shot on goal that found the left side to tie the game again at 3-3.

The Cavaliers, however, grabbed the lead with two precision goals in the next seven minutes to ice the game, including Lauren Hooten’s fourth goal of the game and her third off a free kick, which she placed a nearly indefensible shot off the inside of the far goalpost to close out the scoring.