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Troy Athens opens OAA Red campaign with win over Rochester WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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TROY – The Troy Athens Red Hawks and Rochester Falcons opened up their OAA Red campaigns with an entertaining game, which the Red Hawks won 3-1.

Athens opened up the scoring with 15:35 left in the opening half. Alli Leonard slipped a pass through to Skyla Gebauer, and Gebauer fired one into the far side to give Athens a 1-0 lead. The Red Hawks doubled their lead just before halftime. Leonard fired a corner kick into the penalty area that bounced around as players from both teams tried to get a good kick at it. Ultimately, Athens’ Jenny Demattei did just that, pouncing on the loose ball and depositing it in the back of the net with just 1:39 remaining in the first half to make it 2-0. Ashley Leonard added a second half goal for the Red Hawks as Athens built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the second half.

“It feels good to start Red play that way. I’m glad after not scoring in the first two games that we’ve been able to create some chances and score some goals,” Athens head coach Todd Heugh said. “I thought our play in the midfield to our forwards was pretty good, and we were able to keep a lot of pressure on them and create quite a few chances ourselves.”

Rochester had their chances as well, hitting a post early and forcing several good saves out of Red Hawks goalkeeper Julia Lower as the Falcon counterattack was effective for much of the night and generally got better as the game went along. But despite 11 shots on goal, it took until the very end for the Falcons to find the back of the net when Gabby Gilmore turned and fired a shot in from the left side to make the final score 3-1. Gilmore was Rochester’s most dangerous player on the night, creating several of the Falcons’ best chances with her speed and her passing.

“We had our chances. We created great chances. I would say we had 8-9 good chances created. And it took us to go to a 3-3-4 to get one in the back of the net there at the end. But if we start finishing on those opportunities that we create for ourselves then we’ll be on the other end of those games,” Falcons head coach Dustin Coleman said.

Both teams also have young players in key positions and are looking to get better as the season goes along as well.

“Having a young team, there is a lot that needs to get sorted. It’s much different than club play, and they’re transitioning and they’re adapting to the high school game,” Coleman said. “That takes a few games. This is a very tough opponent, and we had freshmen and sophomores the majority of the time were on the field.” He added that, “I think everybody played hard today.”

Athens returns quite a few players overall, but the Red Hawks are still looking to gel defensively as they add in some talented new players.

“They’re just learning to play together. It takes a while. All the shutouts we had last year were because that backline played together for almost three straight years,” Heugh said. “We just have to figure out how to start limiting chances,” he added.

Both teams have tough crossover opponents on Monday. Rochester (2-3, 0-1 OAA Red) travels to Oxford on Monday to take on the Wildcats while Troy Athens (2-1-1, 1-0 OAA Red) travels further north to take on the Clarkston Wolves.

Last Updated: 4/13/2017 10:41:43 PM EST

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