Ad Spot

Duca’s four goals, one assist lead Chelsea to playoff-clinching win

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – As one of the senior leaders on this year’s team, Haley Duca put together a flawless performance when her team needed her most on Tuesday, April 13.

With a win being the easiest way for the Chelsea Hornets to cement a spot in the postseason, the senior forward stepped up and scored or assisted on four of the team’s six goals in a 6-2 win against the Mountain Brook Spartans.

The win gave the Hornets their sixth win in a row and helped them finish area play 4-2 to earn the two-seed out of the region behind top-ranked Homewood, who they beat 1-0 in their most recent meeting.

Taking on Mountain Brook looking to officially punch their ticket to the postseason, the Hornets faced an early test from the Spartans.

Chelsea earned good looks early in the game, but then control shifted in favor of Mountain Brook.

Mackenzie Titus was forced to step up and make several big saves early in the matchup for the Hornets.

After making three big saves, she made her most spectacular yet by laying out to stop a ball after a breakaway from the Spartans.

Chelsea then got a chance on a breakaway from Duca that ended with a corner kick for the Hornets. But the corner missed slightly long and Mountain Brook quickly turned up field.

The Spartans ran the other way and capitalized on a strong stretch of pressure on Chelsea’s back line with a goal to take the early 1-0 lead with 25:53 left in the first half.

That, however, seemed to wake up the Hornets.

Chelsea just missed shortly after on a strong chance inside the box, but a shot sailed just wide left of the goal.

The Hornets then got close again on a rocket free kick from Avery Burleson that hit the cross bar and deflected away.

Chelsea hadn’t scored to that point, but the constant pressure finally paid off 20 minutes into the half.

The Hornets earned a corner kick and capitalized. Duca took the corner and placed it perfectly in the box for Burleson, who headed it home for the equalizer with 20:17 remaining in the half.

Then, less than a minute later, Abbie Johns drew a penalty on a breakaway, as the Mountain Brook keeper was forced into a penalty to keep her from scoring.

That forced the backup goalie to come in and face Duca for a penalty kick. Duca made it look easy with her first goal of what became a special night to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead.

The rest of the half went by rather quietly, but Duca’s night was just getting started.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Duca added two more goals to pick up a hat trick and extend the lead to 4-1. Then, Lauren Thompson came through on another breakaway and made it 5-1 with 21:18 to play in the game.

Duca had one more trick up her sleeve, as she came through with her fourth goal of the night with 13:40 to play, which followed a Mountain Brook goal to complete the 6-2 victory.

280 Main Story

Defending champ Stricker leads going into final round of Regions Tradition

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain girls bring home school’s 4th state championship

280 Main Story

Spain Park boys soccer team wins first state championship in school history

280 Main Story

Four tied at 7-under going into weekend at Regions Tradition

280 Main Story

Indian Springs boys win 4th state championship in school history

280 Main Story

Spain Park beats rival Hoover to make first state championship game in school history

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain beats Vestavia to advance to state championship game

Calera

Railroad museum offers vendor festival, Mother’s Day weekend special

280 Main Story

Spain wins national title for Magic City Equestrian Team

Alabaster Reporter

CVES recognized for counseling program

Alabaster Main Story

Thompson beats Hoover to claim area tournament championship

Alabaster Main Story

MVES third graders learn about cultural diversity

280 Main Story

Shelby County BOE names Bethany Ivey as new Development and Community Relations Director

280 Main Story

Clarke on top of exciting leaderboard after day 1 at Regions Tradition

Helena

Helena softball wins area tourney, picks up 43rd win of season

280 Main Story

Indian Springs scores 2 second-half goals to advance to state championship

News

PHS culinary team takes first place in state competition

280 Main Story

Parts of Shelby County see 7-plus inches of rain, flooding

Columbiana

New sculptures help define Columbiana’s place in history

News

Reba Joiner Patterson

News

Pelham Racquet Club hosts USTA state championship

Helena

Helena Teen Council taking applications

280 Reporter

Several Shelby County area high schools rank highly in Niche ratings

280 Main Story

On the tee: Celebrities take part in pro-am at Regions Tradition for special cause