Forest Park soccer rolls past Hylton, 7-1, behind Vanessa Kovar’s hat trick

Imagine this scenario as an opponent of top-ranked Forest Park: focus your energy on slowing down one of the Washington region’s top goal scorers, sophomore forward Annah Lindberg, and there’s sophomore forward Jessica Leonard, who is close behind her teammate and is the other half of the area’s highest-scoring duo.

But if Lindberg and Leonard aren’t enough for an opponent to worry about, consider junior forward Vanessa Kovar, a speedy player who on Tuesday night turned in one of her finest high school performances, a hat trick against Hylton in a convincing 7-1 win in Woodbridge.

“We can be phenomenal up top,” said Lindberg, who entering Tuesday night was the region’s leading scorer and now has 17 goals in ten games. “We have three great forwards that can really work together. And we’ve adjusted to each other and been playing with each other for a while. We all know how each other plays and we know which way they’re going to go. We can read them before they even get the ball.”

Lindberg was sensational against improved Hylton (7-3, 5-2), whose only AAA Cardinal District losses are to Forest Park. She helped set up teammates (three assists) and scored herself (two goals). In the closing minutes of the game, she dribbled the ball up the right wing, stopped, cut and drilled a 20-yard shot — all in one effortless motion.

Within the game’s first five minutes, Lindberg had scored for Forest Park (10-0, 7-0). Leonard scored her 13th goal of the season about two minutes later and Kovar scored the third goal of the game in the 11th minute.

“We talk about the best defense is to keep attacking and attacking and attacking,” first-year Forest Park Coach Mark Malloy said. “And no matter who I put in, they know that’s kind of the goal.”

Hylton’s Julia Suarez scored in the 71st minute.

Kovar — who, according to Malloy, is just starting to find her groove this season — was also sharp. The South Carolina recruit scored three straight goals for the Bruins, finishing on two passes from Lindberg and another by junior midfielder Maggie Chapman, who saw her most significant playing time in over seven games.

That is a scary proposition for opponents.

“We have the potential to honestly go to states this year,” said Kovar, whose team was bounced from the first round of the AAA Northwest Region playoffs last spring. “Just with talent and with everyone, we click so well.”

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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