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Naples' Alexandra Mack dribbles through the Aviano defense en route to one of her four goals Saturday in the Wildcats' 8-3 victory. Mack scored three unassisted goals by dribbling right through the heart of the Aviano defense.
Naples' Alexandra Mack dribbles through the Aviano defense en route to one of her four goals Saturday in the Wildcats' 8-3 victory. Mack scored three unassisted goals by dribbling right through the heart of the Aviano defense. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)
Naples' Alexandra Mack dribbles through the Aviano defense en route to one of her four goals Saturday in the Wildcats' 8-3 victory. Mack scored three unassisted goals by dribbling right through the heart of the Aviano defense.
Naples' Alexandra Mack dribbles through the Aviano defense en route to one of her four goals Saturday in the Wildcats' 8-3 victory. Mack scored three unassisted goals by dribbling right through the heart of the Aviano defense. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)
Naples' Nigel Alexander heads the ball toward the Aviano goal after a corner kick Saturday. Alexander would be thwarted in this attempt, but score later in the Wildcats' 3-0 victory.
Naples' Nigel Alexander heads the ball toward the Aviano goal after a corner kick Saturday. Alexander would be thwarted in this attempt, but score later in the Wildcats' 3-0 victory. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)
Aviano's Jeremy Owens sticks a foot in at the last minute to knock the ball away from a charging Nigel Alexander on Saturday in the Wildcats' win. No one else stood between the Naples senior at the Aviano goalkeeper.
Aviano's Jeremy Owens sticks a foot in at the last minute to knock the ball away from a charging Nigel Alexander on Saturday in the Wildcats' win. No one else stood between the Naples senior at the Aviano goalkeeper. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)
Naples' Alexandra Mack boots her third of four goals Saturday to lead the Wildcats past the Aviano Saints 8-3.
Naples' Alexandra Mack boots her third of four goals Saturday to lead the Wildcats past the Aviano Saints 8-3. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)
Naples' Isabella Lucy scored three times Saturday as the Wildcats topped the Aviano Saints 8-3.
Naples' Isabella Lucy scored three times Saturday as the Wildcats topped the Aviano Saints 8-3. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

This article has been corrected

AVIANO, Italy — The Naples Wildcats girls soccer team outscored its first three opponents this season 18-3.

A muddy field and a previously stout Aviano Saints defense didn’t put up much of a hurdle Saturday toward win No. 4.

Alexandra Mack scored four times and Isabella Lucy added a hat trick as the defending European Division II champions raced to an 8-3 victory.

But there were more than a few moments in the second half where the Saints (2-2) appeared to be the Wildcats’ equals.

“Aviano always gives us a tough game,” Naples coach Melinda Durham said.

But not in the first half Saturday. Mack, headed to Liberty University in the fall to play soccer, twice embarrassed the Aviano defense by dribbling right down the middle of the field, weaving through defenders, to score goals. Her second goal put Naples on top 4-0 before halftime.

Aviano coach Steve Stanley, whose team had only given up two goals in three games, said he expected his defense to perform better. But he gave credit to Mack and her teammates.

“They’re using her skills, but it’s not as though she’s a stand-alone player,” he said. “They really play off her well.”

Lucy had opened the scoring when Aviano keeper Annamarie Bickle stopped a Mack shot, but couldn’t control the ball and it landed at Lucy’s feet. Katie Waller also added a first-half goal for Naples, which didn’t allow Aviano a shot on goal in the first half.

Lucy scored again just minutes into the second half, but then Aviano came to life.

Madeline O’Brien launched a rocket shot from 20 yards out on the left side of the field to put Aviano on the scoreboard.

“A beautiful goal,” Durham said.

O’Brien struck again a few minutes later from about half the distance of her first attempt. Lucy countered with a shot of her own to put Naples back up 6-2. But O’Brien struck again, this time with her left foot into the left corner of the net.

O’Brien, a senior and Aviano’s leading scorer, missed a chance to score her fourth goal on a penalty kick and Mack made sure the momentum swung Naples way the rest of the way by scoring two more times in the final minutes.

Jasper Bergwerff, Brenton Bonnema and Nigel Alexander all found the net for the Naples boys in a 3-0 victory to start off the day.

The Wildcats (2-1-1) outshot the Saints 21-12 on the day, but dodged a few bullets. Alexander was given a yellow card early in the first half and the Saints almost scored after that. But then Jasper Bergwerff found himself in the right place at the right time and scored off a rebound to put the Wildcats up 1-0.

“(Aviano) had the opportunity to take advantage and I thought they were going to,” Naples coach Craig Lord said. “But they didn’t and then we did.”

Alexander avoided a potential second yellow card at the end of the half on a play where he launched a high kick that landed in an Aviano defender’s face. So he was around in the second half to score the team’s third goal, showing quick reflexes by deflecting Bergwerff’s shot into the net. Brenton Bonnema had netted the teams’ second score just after halftime.

Lord said his team trails Marymount International and American Overseas School of Rome in the standings, but still has hopes of catching them before the season’s over.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “As long as we continue to keep doing that, we have a chance of competing against anyone.”

harrisk@estripes.osd.mil

CorrectionIsabella Lucy was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.

Migrated
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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