It rained throughout Tuesday night’s (Jan. 5) soccer game between Xavier Prep and visiting Phoenix Pinnacle at Petznick Field.
There was some lightning, too, in the form of a hat trick by freshman Emily Chiao in the final 4:44 of the first half, sparking the Gators to a 3-1 victory in their first game of 2016.
Chiao scored her first goal on a long shot from the left side after the Gators nearly put the ball into the net on a header and a close shot off a corner kick.
At the 3:21 mark, Chiao used her head to make it 2-0 on a feed from Alexis Allard. Chiao’s attempt hit the underside of the crossbar before falling down into the goal area and in.
With 1:29 left in the first half, Chiao and Allard teamed up again, Allard supplying the ball with a nice pass and Chiao sending it into the back of the net.
Pinnacle had battled Xavier (9-2) to a scoreless deadlock when Chiao began to work her magic.
“I’m sure that had to be deflating for them (Pinnacle),’’ said Xavier coach Barb Chura. “You get hit with something like that and you say, “What just happened?’ That was the most exciting part of the game for us right there.’’
“It’s tough for the girls to come back after playing in a tough holiday tournament (the Excalibur in California), get ready for school and get used to being home again against a good team like Pinnacle.’’
Sophomore goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann, who was selected to the All-Tournament Team in the Excalibur, had a shutout going until Pinnacle scored with 23:38 remaining in regulation.
Xavier’s next game is Friday night (Jan. 8) at Goodyear Millennium.