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Ellie Karren scored two goals while Kiarra Hovis added one and the Northland Prep Spartans girls soccer team inched closer to a Central Region title by beating the Camp Verde Cowboys 3-1 Thursday on the road.

Kiarra Hovis scored the first goal from an assist from Eleni Pappas eight minutes into the match. Driving to the near post and playing a ball across the goal, she also provided the assist to Karren for the Spartans, who as the 2A Conference's No. 1-ranked team remain undefeated at 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the region standings.

Camp Verde, ranked No. 7 entering Thursday's match, evened it up with a shot from the far right side from about 25 yards. From there, however, the Spartans kept the Cowboys out of the net.

The game was very physical with Northland Prep's Jayden Dvorak going down with an injury two minutes in. Having to make up for the injury, the defense had to play extended minutes and played very composed. Ginger Blodgett controlled the middle of the field at defensive midfield, seldom allowing the opponent to get the ball through.

Karren scored the second goal from an assist from Emma Blair at the 30-minute mark.

The defense solidified in the second half, only giving up a few shots, with Payten Schmidt diving on the ball to win a one-on-one situation with a Cowboys attacker.

Spartans head coach Michael Blair said this was the type of match his team needed heading into the final week of the regular season, as Northland Prep has just two matches left, both at home. Wednesday's meeting with No. 3 Chino Valley (6-1-1) stands as the toughest test remaining.

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Cody Bashore serves as the beat writer for Northern Arizona University basketball and football in addition to covering high school sports around Flagstaff for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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