ALTON – Alaina Nasello is the kind of player many coaches would love to have on their soccer team.

“She's very skilled and she's feisty,” Alton girls soccer coach Jeff Hayes said of Nasello after her match-winning goal Saturday against Oakville, a goal that gave the Redbirds a 2-1 win. “She doesn't mind getting into the mix and pushing girls around; I like her hustle – she's going to be a great player for us the next few years.”

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Nasello, a sophomore, has six goals and four assists for the Redbirds so far this season for 16 points, including two match-winners.

Alton trailed Oakville 1-0 at the half, but Hayes felt the Redbirds hadn't played badly in that opening 40 minutes. “We came out stronger in the second half,” Nasello said. “The first half was a little slow; we came out on fire in the second half and we got a few goals.”

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One of them was from Nasello, who made a run at the goalpost in the 57th minute and got a feed from Brianna Hatfield; all Nasello had to do was put the ball into the back of the net for what proved to be the match-winner after having some chances not go in in the first half. “The first half was rough, I guess,” Nasello said, “not only for me but for a couple of other players; I'm just glad our team got the win today.”

Nasello also assisted on the tying goal in the 50th minute, getting a cross to Katie Kercher that Kercher finished on. “That was fun,” Nasello said, “just working hard to get it to the end line and hope someone finishes it off.

“I didn't know it (Nasello's winner) was by the goalkeeper, honestly; I was hoping it went in.”

Nasello's hustle can fool opponents. “You just come out of nowhere and it catches them off-guard,” Nasello said.

Saturday's win put the Redbirds at 6-1-1 on the year; Nasello believes it puts Alton in a good spot at this point of the season. “I love it,” Nasello said. “I love this team so much; we've come a long way from last year and it's been awesome.”

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