The Smith-Cotton girls soccer team got four goals from freshmen and two more from a sophomore in a 6-0 win over West Central Conference rival O’Hara Wednesday at Susie Ditzfeld Field.
Making her debut with the Lady Tigers, striker Jessica Coble came off the bench to score twice in the first half. Freshmen Brianna Pollitt and Drae Marcum added goals in the second half as did sophomore Jill Vansell.
“I think they did really good,” Vansell said of her freshmen teammates. “As a freshman last year, I was so nervous. I think they came out and just played really good. It helped a lot with our win.”
After a scoreless 28 minutes to open the game, Coble’s first got the Lady Tigers on the board, striking the ball from 30 yards out, chipping it over Celtics keeper Ciru Franklin.
“Maddie Davidson passed it to me and I just turned and shot it, hoped for the best,” she said.
She used her speed on the second goal, running up on a Davidson through ball and darting past the O’Hara back line, beating Franklin with the right foot to make it 2-0 in the 39th minute.
“I saw the ball and I saw that she was going to pass it so I ran onto it,” Coble said. “From there it was just one-on-one and we’ve been practicing that.”
Coble nearly had a hat-trick. In the 73rd minute, Coble took the ball and made a long run up the left sideline, dribbling around several Celtics defenders, beating one with a hesitation move, and getting a chance on goal but Franklin was able to make the save.
“She’s in a position where she could probably start and we wanted her to come off the bench and provide a spark,” said Smith-Cotton coach Adam Murray.” I thought she did a great job doing that.”
Many of Smith-Cotton’s early chances came from Coble and Pollitt linking up to generate offense.
“We’ve been playing together since we were seven,” Coble said. “I know how she plays. She knows how I play. We don’t have to say anything.”
Smith-Cotton, which has just four seniors and three juniors on the roster, also played sophomore Lydia Sharp in goal as she stopped all three O’Hara shots that went on target. The backline also consisted of a pair of sophomores, Maddy Harding and Peyton Sharp, and freshman Olivia Greer along with senior Madison Hendricks.
The Celtics’ chances were few and far between. O’Hara had a chance to take the lead in the 26th minute but a shot clanged off the post. O’Hara’s Stephanie Rieger had another chance moments later, chipping a shot past Sharp but it sailed wide of the post. The Celtics lone quality chance in the second half came on a free kick just outside the area but the wind caught the ball and took it behind the O’Hara forwards and onto the foot of Coble, who turned it into a counter attack the other way.
“Our backs did a good job and our keeper, Sharp, did a good job on the one free kick that they had,” Murray said. “That had some good pace and she just snagged that thing out of the air. That was a good catch. That’s a tough chance with the wind and the little bit of rain.”
O’Hara took four corner kicks in the first half alone, but nothing came of any of them, in fact Smith-Cotton was able to turn two of the corners into counter attacks heading the other way.
“We have it set where we want to win the ball on corners,” Murray said. “We have it set where we want to win the ball out and counter quick because we do have some girls with speed.”
Smith-Cotton scored four times in the second half. Vansell’s two goals came a minute apart. In the 58th minute she took a cross from Kali Edwards and put the ball home. Just after the restart she took the ball 40 yards from the net and dribble to the edge of the penalty box, striking the ball in from there.
“I’m really used to just cutting so I’m really comfortable with that so I just took it,” she said.
Pollitt added a goal in the 66th minute on a strike which went through the keeper’s legs. In the 77th minute, Marcum finished a long run with a goal.
“I think we came out not too cocky but we did come out confident,” Vansell said. “I think we stayed calm and didn’t freak out too much. I thought we did really good as a team.”
The Lady Tigers will visit Father Tolton at 5 p.m. today.