The Northland Prep girls soccer team got some use out of the new eight-goal mercy rule in Thursday's win over Round Valley.

Mia Blair scored three goals and assisted on a pair, Ellie Karren scored twice and had one assist, and Sydney Sventek scored twice and added three assists in the Spartans' 9-0 win over the Round Valley Elks at Sinagua Middle School.

The new mercy rule makes it so that if a team leads by eight goals by the 20-minute mark of the second half, the match is over.

Northland Prep improved to 3-0 in power-point games and 7-0 when accounting for tournament games. When counting all seven of the Spartans' matches this season, Northland Prep has outscored opponents 58-4.

The 2A Conference Spartans dominated the right side of the field all afternoon in their home opener, seemingly because the team just likes working that side. Most of Northland Prep's nine goals came off touches from the right side to the middle in front of the Round Valley goal.

That style, Spartans co-head coach Michael Blair said, is being used because the staff wants the Spartans to better diversify where the attack is coming from rather than lean on one spot.

"We're working on new things; we did a little live training today," Michael Blair said. "Attacking through different sides of the field. It took awhile, but they started to do that and in a game situation that's what we needed."

At times the Spartans favored the right, but mostly because Round Valley (1-1-1) couldn't keep up with Mia Blair, Karren and Sventek coming down the line.

"We're supposed to be using the width, and coming down the right side works good. You can tell we aren't very good coming down the left," Michael Blair said, adding that that area is a spot the Spartans are working to improve on.

Sventek opened the scoring up for Northland Prep with a penalty kick about three minutes in.

Mia Blair then got the offense rolling, taking a touch pass from Karren for a goal in front of the net 10 minutes in. The Spartans' second goal came about eight minutes later when Mia Blair zigzagged through a pair of Elks to score from the right side of the goal.

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The Spartans added in four more goals in the final 20 minutes of the first half. Northland Prep added in three in the second half, with the first two coming in just the first five minutes of the second.

Defensively, Payten Schmidt continued her strong play in the net getting another shutout win -- her fifth of the season. Schmidt had four saves on all four of the shots that came on goal, including a high tip off a solid shot by Round Valley.

Mia Blair now has 19 goals and 16 assists on the season to lead the 2A, with Karren just behind her with 18 goals. Sventek has done well to replace the production of Kiarra Hovis, who will miss the season with a torn ACL, with her eight goals and 13 assists.

The Spartans will hit the road for their first of three straight games away from home, facing St. Johns Tuesday at 5 p.m.


Gracelyn Nez had a double-double, as well as setter Devynn Hatathlie, and the 4A Flagstaff Eagles (3-0) recorded their first shutout of an opponent this season, beating the Mingus Union Marauders (2-2) Thursday in Cottonwood 3-0.

Nez tallied 10 kills and 12 digs to go with six blocks, while Hatathlie ended her night with 16 assists and 12 digs in Flagstaff's first Grand Canyon Region match of the season.

Cassidy Berry also had 12 digs for the Eagles, who won 25-15, 25-15, 25-18. With Flagstaff in control, Sadie Mitchell came off the bench and got four kills in the third set.

Bridget Bond added 10 assists in the victory and had six digs and a block, and Eagles libero Paetyn Nakai notched 24 digs. Alyssa Williams provided Flagstaff's defense eight blocks, with Alyssa Prager contributing four.

Flagstaff hosts Mohave for a 6 p.m. home match on Tuesday.

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The Daily Sun Sports Staff contributed to this roundup.


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