The Northeast Community College women’s soccer team improved to 5-1 on the season with a 6-0 shutout over the College of St. Mary junior varsity Tuesday evening.

The benefits of the game, which the Hawks won with considerable ease, included the opportunity for Northeast coach Chad Miller to provide playing time for a number of players and to allow his team to work on improving against an opponent instead of a practice session. But Miller said his squad has some things to work on.

“This is our sixth game, and all of them have been nonconference games, which allows to filter out our issues,” Miller said. “We’ve noticed in some games that because of the girls’ passion and love of the game, we become overly excited in the first half, trying to do too much and too quickly, and we try to go forward too fast.”

But on Tuesday, the Hawks turned the tide in the second half.

“This is the second game in a row that we’ve settled down and scored four goals in the second half,” he said. “It’s not that we need to score four goals, but it would be nice to play a full 90 minutes of good, patient soccer.”

In shutting out the Flames, the Hawks limited St. Mary — which had difficulty advancing the ball beyond midfield — to just one shot on goal, which occurred late in the second half. Meanwhile, Northeast accumulated 18 first-half shots, including 13 on goal, although the Flames’ goalkeeper was able to turn away several quality shots by the Hawks with 11 saves.

But Northeast’s leading scorer, freshman forward Naomi Pedroza, advanced the ball up the right side following an assist pass by Londyn Cacciacarne and drive a shot into the left side of the net with 18 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the half to provide Northeast with a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, the Hawks benefited from an “own goal” as a St. Mary defender attempted to kick the ball clear of the box to increase their lead to 2-0.

In the second half, Pedroza added two more goals — her sixth and seventh in the season’s first six games — and Northeast added another 15 shot attempts, with 10 directly on goal.

“The girls do find her. This group has really gotten to know each other in a short amount of time, so they know the runs each other make and where to find each other,” Miller said. “That’s kind of been the key for everything, along with the fact that we do have speed on the field.”

Both of Pedroza’s goals came from the right side of the field, the first finishing a 20-yard run with 32:33 remaining in the half, while the second came from a lead pass by Mandy Stricker and increased Northeast’s lead to 4-0.

Another two minutes later, Abby Podraza added a goal following a Stricker corner kick that Podraza sent into the net for a 5-0 Hawks lead.

Lorry Romain concluded the scoring in the 6-0 win with just under 20 minutes left in the game by finishing a give-and-go assist by Kyla Ryan.

“The girls want to keep winning, they want to keep going,” Miller said. “But we’ve just got to get some little things under control.”

Northeast will finish its nonconference schedule this weekend with games against Central Wyoming College on Friday and Northwest College on Saturday.

Northeast (5-1) defeats College of St. Mary (0-1) 6-0

Goals: (Northeast) Naomi Pedroza (3), Abby Podraza, Lorry Romain and St. Mary (own goal). Assists: (Northeast) Londynn Cacciacarne, Mandy Stricker and Karla Ryan.

In other news

HASTINGS — With only two starters back from last year’s Class C state championship season, one might think the Wayne softball team might have some jitters in its return to the Class B division of the state softball championships.

A season ago, Norfolk found itself in a simple scenario for the Class A football playoffs in the second-to-last game of the season: Beat Lincoln Pius X, and you’re in; lose, and you’re out.