---- — By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
CATAWISSA -- During halftime of Tuesday's game, Southern Columbia honored its 11 seniors with a little Senior Night ceremony.
So it was only fitting that those seniors -- all 11 of whom started the game -- stepped up on their night to give the Tigers a convincing win.
The Tigers scored six goals, including a hat trick by Mackenzie Clark in the second half, to blank Mount Carmel, 6-0, in a HAC-II game at home and remain unbeaten on the season.
"That was a total 100 percent team effort," Southern Columbia coach Derek Stine said.
The Tigers (11-0-1, 8-0-1 HAC-II) put two goals on the board in the first half on the Red Tornadoes (8-4, 5-4 HAC-II).
Senior Teanna Shutt netted the first by scoring from outside the goal area with a nice shot to the near post just past Mount Carmel's goalie. Then senior Bailey Bzdak (who just recorded her 50th career goal this past week) tallied with a beautiful header to the far post from just five yards out.
"We wanted to beat them, not have a hard game and put it away," Clark said. "And it was our Senior Night, so we wanted to get it done early."
In the second half, Clark put the game away herself with a hat trick in just a six-minute span to pump the lead from two goals to five. The second-half performance also put Clark at 49 career goals.
"We're just a better second-half team -- that's what we say -- but I guess it gave us confidence and then we went from there," Clark said laughing.
Two of Clark's three goals were perfect high shots just beyond Mount Carmel goalie Sami Zigarski's reach to the top right corner of the goal. Clark's other goal came when she dribbled down just a few feet from the goalie and tapped a shot to the far post to complete the hat trick.
Bzdak had assists on the last two Clark goals.
In the second half, the Tigers peppered Mount Carmel's goal with 13 shots from all over the field.
Sophomore Gabby Delbo tacked on a sixth goal with 10:28 remaining in the game. Bzdak passed it to Delbo, who snuck in a shot to the near post just a few yards from the goalie.
While the offense was on a roll Tuesday, the Tigers' defense was perhaps just as solid.
Mount Carmel failed to do anything against Southern Columbia, recording just six shots in the game, only four of which were on goal.
Senior Ali Varano had a great chance in the opening minutes of the game. The Red Tornado got past Southern's defenders to get just inside the goal area and, at the last moment, slid to try to get a shot into the far post. Southern Columbia goalie Jess Watkins dove to block it and as the ball rolled parallel to the goal, Watkins scooped it up to prevent someone from sneaking in an early goal.
It was Mount Carmel's best look of the day; it was also the only shot attempt to come from inside the goal area.
"(It was) just a collective effort from everybody on that team, from forwards right back to defenders. They work great together as a group," Stine said. "They do a great job (and) they work hard."
Early in the second half, Mount Carmel's Jenn Bolick sent a corner kick to Jordan Winhofer, who tried to fire a shot past Watkins. A Southern defender managed to kick it out, but sent it right to Isabella Stellar, who then tried to sneak one to the near post only to have it sail just wide of the net.
"We talked about the whole team aspect of it rather than working toward any one individual," Stine said. "We had 14 different girls score so far this year. It's been kind of amazing. To have that many girls score, playing the teams that we're playing, is a lot of fun."