By Robert Cole
Forest Hills took advantage of an opportunity to jump John Bowne in the standings with a 4-0 Columbus Day victory.
The win moved the Lady Rangers up to third place.
Junior Anastasia Abdurakhmanova scored three of Forest Hills’ four goals and the Lady Rangers combined her offensive firepower with a pressing defense that shut down John Bowne’s attack.
“I think we had a statement game today. We played well defensively, we did not give up any goals, the midfield controlled the game, and we scored four goals,” Forest Hills coach Robert Sprance said.
That defense was anchored by the outstanding play of junior goalie Julia Fields, who made four outstanding saves on point blank shots to help keep a clean sheet.
“Our goalie has been the best goalie in our division,” Sprance said. “Against Francis Lewis, she saved about 10 shots. She was so amazing that the players from Francis Lewis applauded her effort.”
On offense, Abdurakhmanova opened up the scoring at the six-minute mark, breaking away from the Bowne defenders to score with a shot from the top of the box to break the ice for the Lady Rangers. She closed the first half with the second of her three goals from the penalty spot after a handball inside the box was called against Bowne.
Abdurakhmanova completed her hat trick in the second minute of the second half to give Forest Hills a 3-0 lead.
Sprance said Abdurakhmanova’s success is a good sign of thinks to come for the rising junior.
“Last year she had a slump early in the season. She did not score any goals in the first five games, then she scored 14 goals in the last eight games,” Sprance said. “Already, this is her second hat trick this season. She has scored eight goals in the first five games. She’s amazing.”
Despite her star turn, Abdurakhmanova credited the entire team’s efforts.
“Today’s game was a really great experience. I scored a hat trick, but I could not do it without my team, and I am just really grateful to be here with my teammates and to have such an amazing game that I am really proud of,” Abdurakhmanova said.
Depending on the heroic saves from Fields in the first half, the Lady Rangers’ defense improved with a second-half performance that frustrated the Lady Wildcats, allowing just one shot on goal.
Ainara Higgins put the icing on the cake with the fourth and final goal of the game in the 14th minute.
With the victory, Forest Hills is on course in its attempt to continue rising up the ranks in its division, hoping to receive a higher seed, which would lead to possible home games in the postseason.