Girls Soccer: Valentine Posts Hat Trick as Grafton Snaps Losing Skid is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Sarah Houle
Sarah Houle sends in a corner kick. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

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Grafton entered Friday night's home game against Heritage on a five-game losing streak and in desperate need of a win.

Behind a hat trick from Malia Valentine, Grafton put together its best offensive performance of the season en route to a 6-0 win.

Grafton Coach Galen Small said the win was a major confidence boost for the Clippers, who play tough games against Jamestown and Menchville next week.

"Psychologically it's big for us just to get the confidence back," Small said about the win. "Sometimes the girls psych themselves out when they aren't scoring and they think about it too much."

Mallory Coolidge opened the scoring in the sixth minute, collecting the ball just inside the Heritage box and beating the keeper.

After Grafton's early goal, the Clippers struggled to connect passes and beat a tightly-packed Heritage defense.

In the 35th minute, Valentine logged her first goal of the contest after Ann Marie Lindstrom beat the Heritage goalkeeper, who came off her line in an attempt to collect the ball.

After beating the goalie, Lindstrom dumped the ball to Valentine, who easily finished the ball into the empty net and put the Clippers up 2-0 heading into the break.

Sydny Pepper opened the second half by scoring easily the most impressive goal of the game in the 44th minute.

Pepper intercepted an attempted clearance deep in the Heritage zone. Pepper took one touch and sent a shot on net from roughly 25 yards out. The ball curled into the upper-left corner of the net, beating the Heritage keeper who had no chance to stop the shot.

"That was a phenomenal goal. It was dynamite," Small said. "Just the awareness to hit that one time from that far out and hit it cleanly, I'm sure it made her really happy. It was good to see us having the confident to hit the ball off our first touch."

Three minutes later, Pepper sent a pass to Olivia Lilygren inside the Heritage box that was easily finished in the back of the net to put Grafton up 4-0.

After the two quick goals in the second half, the pace of play slowed before Grafton got back on the board in the 73rd minute.

Valentine collected a loose ball that was sitting on the goal line and tapped it into the back of the net for her second empty-net goal of the game.

Two minutes later, Valentine capped off her hat trick by stealing the ball from Heritage's defense and striking the ball underneath the Heritage keeper for the game's final goal.

Grafton (4-7) will look to continue its winning ways at home against Jamestown on Monday.

Grafton 6, Heritage 0

Goals: Grafton (Coolidge, Valentine 3, Pepper, Lilygren
Assists: Grafton (Lindstrom, Pepper)