The Northland Prep Academy girls’ soccer team added on to its streak, earning the program's 30th straight win by beating St. John’s 4-1 Tuesday afternoon.
The Spartans’ victory did not come as easy or as pretty as some of their previous wins during the streak.
“They figured it out -- sometimes you got to win ugly and they did,” Spartans co-head coach Michael Blair said.
Northland Prep controlled the tempo for most of the game but started slow -- only scoring one goal in the first half. St. John’s kept the match tight, keeping themselves in striking distance until they were able to capitalize on a penalty kick due to a handball called in the box on the Spartans about eight minutes into the second half.
The penalty kick tied the game and from then on, the Spartans took control, scoring two goals just three minutes apart, led by a goal by Kiarra Hovis assisted by Emma Blair and one from Ellie Karren soon after.
“It made us realize 1-0 is not what we want to settle for and that we need higher expectations for ourselves,” Kiarra Hovis said on how the Spartans reacted to the penalty kick score.
As for Blair, he knew that his team would respond to the tying score.
“They knew,” Michael Blair said. “They weren’t going to play with this team after that. I felt like we were playing with it a little bit and a lot of it was our skill.
“Mainly the skill is what killed us tonight,” he added. “ …Usually that’s our advantage. Our first touch, our skill.”
Northland Prep won 4-1, but the score could have been much different. About three or four of the Spartans' shots on goal against St. John's hit off the crossbar, and multiple others sailed through or near the football uprights.
St. John's goalkeeper also helped her team by doing as much as she could to stymie the Spartans offense, with diving save after diving safe during the match.
Blair added that Northland Prep struggled to get inside St. John’s defense and had to settle for long shots at times throughout the match.
After Tuesday’s match, the Spartans have outscored their opponents 136-16 since the win streak started at the beginning of last season.
Northland Prep also holds some strong dominance over the 2A Conference statistical leaderboards through their nine games played this year, which is also second to only rival Chino Valley, who has played 10 games.
Going into Tuesday, the Spartans had the third through seventh places in total points scored, the third through sixth spots in total goals scored and points per game, and the top two assists leaders in Hovis and Emma Blair with 13 and 11 respectively.
Through nine matches, Northland Prep is averaging just shy of six goals per game and holds the lead in the conference with just six goals given up this season.
The Spartans will take on 2A Central opponent Payson in their first game of the Show Low Invitational on Friday in Show Low.