A hat trick from junior forward Kavita Battan propelled the Idaho soccer team to a 5-0 victory over North Idaho College Sunday afternoon on the SprinTurf.
â€œI thought she had a good energy around her,â€ Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said. â€œShe created a lot of opportunities, not only for herself but for her teammates.â€
Battanâ€™s first goal came in the 15th minute of play, as she beat defenders and the Cardinal goalkeeper to an uncontrolled ball deep in North Idaho territory.
â€œI saw the goalie slow down because she was waiting for the ball to come into her box,â€ Battan said. â€œI thought â€˜If I press her, sheâ€™s going to panicâ€™ so I pressed her and got by her. I told myself to stay composed, and then I just laid the ball into the net.â€
Battan said the goal was unique in that she scored with her left foot.
â€œThatâ€™s something I never usually do,â€ Battan said. â€œBut it was a good way to get on the board.â€
The second goal for the Vandals came in the 22nd minute, as junior midfielder Elexis Schlossarek beat defenders to the ball and sent it past the goalkeeper from 12 yards out.
Schlossarekâ€™s goal would allow Idaho to enter halftime with a 2-0 lead over North Idaho.
Battan would strike again for the Vandals in the 49th minute of play with some trickery.
Schlossarek played the ball off a corner kick for Idaho, crossing it into a scrum of players in front of the net. The pass found Battan, who flicked the ball past the goaltender and into the left side of the goal with a backheel shot.
â€œHonestly it was just a spur of the moment thing,â€ Battan said. â€œI never do things like that, so I thought, â€˜Why not try it?â€™ It ended up working, and I was really excited for it.â€
Four minutes later, Battan recorded a hat trick with her third goal of the afternoon to put the Vandals up 4-0.
â€œKavita has got a lot of tools, and sheâ€™s just now getting back to full fitness from her injury from the fall,â€ Pittman said. â€œItâ€™s been nice to see her get into confidence and really get back to playing the way she was through the entire season last year.â€
Pittman said he was impressed with Battanâ€™s movement on the field.
â€œI thought her ability to slash in front of defenders and create problems on the ball was really good,â€ Pittman said.
Freshman forward Summer Kaneshiro would score the final goal for Idaho in the 72nd minute of play.
Kaneshiro initially controlled a deep pass with a header, before sprinting past a defender and shooting the ball past the outstretched arms of the diving goalkeeper.
Idaho held North Idaho to four shots on the afternoon, including one shot on goal.
The best scoring attempt for the Cardinals came in the 81st minute, when sophomore Lexi Smith earned a free kick from 30 yards out. Her shot ricocheted off defenders and was quickly cleared by the Vandal defense.
â€œOur defense was very disciplined and very organized,â€ Pittman said. â€œIt always starts with our communication. From there, we showcase our physical play and do the things we need to do to assert ourselves on the defensive side of things.â€
The Vandals will travel to the Tri-Cities to compete in a doubleheader against Eastern Oregon and Central Washington as a conclusion to the spring season.
â€œWe want to keep developing this week as we finish strong and hopefully have another great weekend in the two games we have remaining,â€ Pittman said.
Josh Grissom can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GoshJrissom