ATTLEBORO — Sure, junior striker Francesca Yanchuk can score goals, as she did Thursday at McGrath Stadium, filling the back of the Medway High net three times.
But it was the ball control and the passing that separated the unbeaten Bishop Feehan High girls’ soccer team from the Tri-Valley League power in a 3-0 shutout win for the Shamrocks.
“We moved the ball real well, we played some quality soccer throughout the game,” Bishop Feehan coach Phil Silva said of his 4-0 Shamrocks.
Yanchuck, who scored 39 goals last season, touched the twine for her first goal in the 12th minute, her second goal in the 27th minute and her hat trick goal in the 62nd minute.
Meanwhile, the Shamrocks’ defensive backline, with seniors Ashley Foster and junior Anna Jones on the outside to go with senior Ashley Kelly and sophomore Annie Pearl inside, were so resolute in their mission and addressing balls on Bishop Feehan soil that Medway was afforded just one corner kick through the second half and without uncorking a shot at sophomore goalkeeper Amelia Hohos.
Hohos accounted for a trio of first half saves while facing three Mustang corner kicks within the first 10 minutes of the non-league match.
After that, the Shamrocks had the obvious better run of play for the final 70 minutes.
“We managed to handle their deadballs, that’s where they’re really scary,” Silva said of Medway’s corner kicks and free kicks. “We handled all of them.”
The Mustangs were coming off of a 16-win season and had trumped Bishop Feehan in each of the past two seasons in non-league matches.
“That was a big one for us,” Silva said of with the next test Friday at home against Bishop Stang.
Yanchuk put the Shamrocks into the lead with a craftly created goal, sidestepping a pair of Medway defenders, making a two-touch dribble and then launching a shot into the lower left corner of the Mustang net.
In the 27th minute, Shamrock sophomore Mikayla Dorrer won a loose ball, then slipped it over to Yanchuk, who fended off a pair of rival defenders with a left-footed short-side shot.
Yanchuk made it a three-goal margin by converting a penalty kick. After being tripped inside the left side of the penalty box, Yanchuk was on the spot and labeled her shot to the lower right corner of the Medway net.
There could have been plenty more goals for the Shamrocks as senior Hailey Goodman had a terrific shot off the left wing at 44, then hit the crossbar at 61 — as did Grace Robison at 73.
Robison created a loose-ball chance in the eighth minute, a header in the 11th minute and a long ball drive in the 20th minute.
The Shamrocks’ midfield cast with Lindsey Moskal, Sydney Kofton and Goodman were in unison, skillfully being one step and one pass ahead of Medway challenges.
“I knew that we could move the ball, but I didn’t know if we could get behind them,” Silva said of the Shamrocks movement forward. “We did and that makes the game easier — with our girls looking at the net and the defense going backwards. That’s a good sign for us.”