By Patrick Coonan
Bel Air, Md. - Dani Zacierka (Sparrows Point) started the scoring in the 3rd minute of play on Tuesday afternoon as the Knights cruised to a 10-0 win over College of Southern Maryland in an NJCAA Region XX Division I semifinal match, hosted by Harford Community College.
The Knights (17-1) picked up their 17th consecutive win and will now play Frederick in the regional final on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Harford Stadium.
Kara Dietrich (Perry Hall) scored the first of her five goals just over a minute after Zacierka, as she slipped through the defense and beat the goalie on the break for the 2-0 Essex lead.
Dietrich would find the back of the net again in the 7th and 18th minutes of play, completing her hat trick before halftime.
The Knights scored again in the 22nd minute when Ryleigh Fachler (Perry Hall) played a ball through and over the top to Zacierka who would one-time the ball into the corner for the 5-0 Essex lead.
One minute later, Dietrich scored her fourth when she hit one from outside the box, which put her into first place in NJCAA Division I with 47 goals.
In the 32nd minute of the first half, Emily Vetri (Sparrows Point) would play a ball to Jazmyn Smith (Patapsco) that she would skip in with her head for her second goal of the year.
The Knights would take the 7-0 lead into halftime.
It would be a slower start for the Knights in the second half of play, but the game was well under control.
In the 53rd minute Taylor West (North Point) would play the ball to Dietrich who would score her fifth goal of the game. One minute later, Vetri would play a corner kick with her left foot that Mikayla Boyle (Eastern Tech) would head past the keeper for the 9-0 Knights lead.
In the 82nd minute, the Knights scored their tenth goal on the day.
Ashlyn Hales (Eastern Tech) tallied her sixth goal of the season off an assist from Amaya Purnell (Perry Hall).
Dietrich now has 48 goals on the season and sits atop the national leader board by one.
"It had been two weeks since they played a game," head coach Joe Fiedler said. "We looked rusty to start and then we turned it on and played well."
The Knights play Frederick on Saturday, as they attempt to win women's soccer's first regional title since 2012.
Goalie Sam Tornatore (Eastern Tech) and defenders Natalie Berkey (John Carroll), Kathryn Wysong (Patterson Mill), Natalie Marx (Towson) and Lydia Morris (Mercy) will attempt to keep the nation's second highest scorer Lindsey Brant off the tally sheet.
The Knights have registered seven shutouts so far this season, five of which they prevented their opponents from recording a shot.