High School Girls Soccer

Erck, Boucher shine as Spartans girls dominate to start playoffs

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 3/27/21

Haydan Erck has wasted no time acclimating herself to the varsity soccer game as a sophomore. A junior varsity ‘A’ player last year, Erck has thrived at the highest level in high school.

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High School Girls Soccer

Erck, Boucher shine as Spartans girls dominate to start playoffs

Posted

Haydan Erck has wasted no time acclimating herself to the varsity soccer game as a sophomore. A junior varsity ‘A’ player last year, Erck has thrived at the highest level in high school.

The Seven Lakes forward was incredible in her postseason debut Friday evening, scoring three goals for a hat-trick to spark the Spartans to a 7-0 win over Elkins in their Class 6A bi-district playoff game at Legacy Stadium.

The Spartans, who have outscored opponents, 71-5, this season, improved to 17-2-1 and play Cy Creek in the area round Tuesday, March 30.

“Haydan can do a little bit of everything,” coach Kaitlyn Eidson said. “She likes to attack. She’s goal-hungry. Her work ethic is stellar. She spends a lot of time outside of practice working on things on her own, and that’s why she’s a special player.”

Senior Phoebe Harpole got the Spartans on the board seven minutes in, capitalizing on a quick tap from senior Paige Boucher near the net. Then Erck went to work, scoring an easy one-timer on another nifty assist from Boucher on a 2-on-1 breakaway before adding a gorgeous curveball score off a looping corner kick from the right side for a 3-0 lead with 16:09 left.

Because the left foot is her strong one and she plays on the right side, Erck can easily cut back from defenders and shoot effectively from awkward positions. Her ability to take corner kicks with her left foot allows her to curve balls high and toward the net with ease, as she did on her second tally.

Boucher and sophomore Prisha Menon added scores in the second half before Erck struck again with 5:45 left in the game, wide open from the right side.

“I felt like it was coming,” Erck said of the third goal. “My coach said to get another one, so I was ready for it. It’s exciting. It’s fun to score. I love it.”

It was Erck’s second hat trick of the season. She also had one in the first round of district play against Mayde Creek.

“She just has so much determination,” said Boucher, who had two goals and two assists. “She’s very fast and she has cool, tricky moves she does with the ball. I can’t do that. I’m just running and going. But she can trick them all.”

What Boucher can do, however, is add a speedy complement as another potent playmaker alongside Erck. Boucher is a pure athlete. A jack-of-all-trades type, she is also a star on the Spartans’ track and field team.

This season, she has four first-place finishes in the 100 hurdles, two first-place finishes in the 300 hurdles, four first-place finishes in the long jump and two second-place finishes in the triple jump.

Boucher will play soccer and compete in track and field at Abilene Christian next fall.

“For me, it all applies,” said Boucher, who undergoes cryotherapy after Friday soccer games to rejuvenate her body before Saturday track and field meets. “Being a central forward, if there’s a run-through I can take, I take it. I can take advantage of my speed because of the work I do in track and field.”

Boucher is a four-year varsity letterman for Eidson.

“She’s always had some raw talent, some raw speed,” Eidson said. “That’s why she’s a track star, too. But she’s really homed in on her technical ability, and I’m very proud of her for that.”

Erck being a scoring threat on the wing with Boucher’s speed and poise in the middle make for a dominant tandem. Boucher said she and Erck “can almost read each other’s mind,” and the chemistry between them is obvious in the way they connect on the field.

“We preach family, and those girls embrace that,” Eidson said. “They play great together. They’re very dynamic and their play styles complement each other very well. I think it says a lot about how these girls are committed to the cause.”

The Spartans’ cause, hopefully, is state.

“If we keep playing like we did (against Elkins), I think we have what it takes to go far,” Boucher said. “We were giving it our all and we were fighting so hard. It’s thrilling, because I know we can get even better.”

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