Sky Blue FC striker Sam Kerr recorded a first-half hat-trick for Australia. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
SAN DIEGO — Sam Kerr was at it again Sunday night.
The talented striker opened the month with a hat-trick for her club.
She finished it with a hat-trick for her country.
Now, how many players have been able to say that?
The Sky Blue FC forward scored three first-half goals to power Australia to a 4-2 victory over Japan at the Tournament of Nations at Qualcomm Stadium.
It was the first time in Kerr’s international career that she scored three goals in a match. On July 8, she did the same for Sky Blue FC during a 12-minute span in a 3-2 triumph over FC Kansas City in a National Women’s Soccer League game.
Kerr was one difficult woman to stop as she combined her speed with his lethal finishing ability.
The result propelled the Aussies women to the tournament lead with a 2-0-0 mark after they defeated the United States in their opening match.
Japan grabbed a six-minute lead on Mina Tanaka’s goal before the Sam Kerr show took over five minutes later.
That’s when an unmarked Kerr tapped home Hayley Raso’s feed for a 1-1 tie.
Kerr struck again in the 16th minute as she curled a shot past goalkeeper Sakiko Ikeda for a 2-1 advantage.
As the half was coming to a close, Kerr tallied again, scoring off a second attempt for a 3-1 lead She celebrated with a handstand and a backflip.
Van Egmond’s second-half penalty kick increased Australia’s lead to 4-1 before Japan scored late.