The Hannibal girls soccer team does not show a whole lot of emotion on the pitch. But forward Haley Ballinger couldn’t help but let out a little jubilation Tuesday evening.
The sophomore took a vicious hit in the second half against Moberly, but she got back up, albeit a little slower than usual. She then proceeded to find the back of the net twice in a span of nine minutes — the second enforced the mercy rule with just over eight minutes left in the contest as Hannibal picked up an 11-1 win at Veterans Sports Complex.
"It always look good and is exciting when you end the game early," Ballinger said. "And I always like getting a goal."
The win moves the Lady Pirates to 11-5 on the season.
Ballinger also came up with a trio of assists in the first half, perhaps the most spectacular coming when she hooked up with freshman Peyton Utterback.
Ballinger sent a cross from the right side and Utterback raced in toward the far post and headed the ball into the net. The goal gave the Lady Pirates an early 2-0 lead just three minutes into the contest.
"Haley did nice job of picking out her teammates and sending in some really good balls tonight," Hannibal coach Eric Hill said. "None better than the header Utterback had from the far post. Just a great ball by Haley and a great finish by Peyton."
Less than a minute later, Ballinger found Kaylee Falconer in the middle for a 3-0 lead.
After Ballinger sent in a free kick to give the Lady Pirates a 4-0 lead and an own goal by Moberly, the two hooked up again for a 6-0 lead. The goal gave the Lady Pirate freshman a hat trick.
Ballinger didn’t want to take all the credit for her trio of assists in the first half.
"I have played with these girls a lot so the forwards work really good with the center-mids and I think we all just did a nice job of connecting and finishing together tonight," she said.
The one blemish on the night for Hannibal came in the final minute of the first half.
Moberly’s Kennedi Freeman snuck a long shot just inside the crossbar from 30 yards away for the first and only goal of the game for the visitors.
"It would have been better without the one goal and the shutout, but I think we still played really well together tonight," Ballinger said.
Falconer added her fourth goal of the game, and her 18th of the season, with 26 minutes left in the contest for an 8-1 lead.
Shelby Stine, who recorded the first goal of the game, added a rebound goal from point-blank range to extend the Lady Pirates lead to 9-1.
It was Stine’s team-leading 23rd of the season.
Abby Baumann connected on a header off of a corner kick sent in by Utterback, which was sandwiched between the goals by Ballinger.
For the game, the Lady Pirates fired 27 shots on goal. Moberly finished with two.
Hannibal travels to conference foe Mexico on Thursday.