Player 7, 17minutes, 17th ever


File Photo

Christina Cutura, senior forward, was one of two position players to start in all 18 matches for the Lady Lions in the 2017 season.

Nikisun Shrestha, Staff Reporter

With three goals in 17 minutes against Alcorn State University, Christina Cutura, senior forward, secured a first half hat trick and etched her name in the program’s history as the 17th player to achieve the feat.

Cutura shared her reaction to being the first Lady Lion since the 2015 season to score a hat trick.

“It was a great feeling,” said Cutura. “It helped that a lot of my teammates helped me a lot. Darby and Claire both putting in great crosses and Jessi assisted me the one in the corner. I just had to stay calm and put the ball in the back of the net.”

Christopher McBride, head coach, explained the difficulty of scoring a first half hat trick and credited the different types of goals Cutura scored.

“It’s really tough in a game to score three goals in 90 minutes, never mind doing it in 45 minutes,” said McBride. “It was an all-round phenomenal performance. It wasn’t as if they were all the same goals. She scored two headers from different sides of the field and another goal from outside the box. So, the performance was fantastic.”

As the newly appointed captain in her senior year, Cutura has taken a different position in the field this season. McBride credited Cutura’s success to her curiosity and work ethic.

“She’s changed her position this year, and she’s really taken to it,” said McBride. “She’s taking up knowledge, and she’s asking questions, and you can see it in her game. The three goals reflects that. She’s the first one to practice, and she’ll be the last one to leave. She always stays behind to do extra. It’s everything you want in a leader. She makes everyone around her better.”

In this season, Cutura has been given the responsibility to lead the attack as a center forward. This is a change from last year’s outside back position. According to McBride, this year, her role is to be “looking to receive the ball and hold up a little bit for us so we can get numbers in attack.” She is also assigned to “go on the ball or on the end of a cross or a cutback or even turn to have a shot.”

Cutura described how she is learning her new roles in the team.

“It’s been fun to learn,” said Cutura. “I’m just trying to be the best leader as I can just by leading by example, really helping everybody be the best they can be on the field and off the field. It’s awesome learning different positions, especially in my last year. Changing up a bit definitely brings a different perspective on the field. Like coach said, while attacking, I’m looking to hold up the ball, trying to get runs in to score.”

This year’s early indications show that the program is doing well offensively. McBride is pleased with the efforts of the team’s attack.

“Going forward, this year, everyone has been creating chances,” said McBride. “In our first exhibition game, our outside back, Sophia, scored, who was assisted by our other outside back, Claire. So, attack’s been coming from everywhere this year, from the left, from the right, from the front and the back. I think it’s more about what best suits us in that moment on the field. It’s one of the reasons we think we could have a very good season ahead of us. Our girls are doing a really good job of understanding the game, and all of them are supporting each other in attack.”

McBride discussed his expectations from his second season in charge.

“We’re still early on in the year,” said McBride. “We’ve only had two full 90 minutes yet. We’re still finding out what best suits us right now. We’re still trying a number of things on the field, and we’ll see where it goes. We’re hoping for a successful season.”