By Tony Tsoukalas / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Neither light rain nor a sloppy field could stop the West Lauderdale girls soccer team, as the Knights overpowered Newton County 5-0 on the road Friday night.
Before the game West Lauderdale head coach Alex George told his players they would have to be direct and play off of Newton County mistakes. The Knights would do just that, corralling the Cougars on defense and making the most of scoring opportunities.
“We got some good ball tonight,” George said. “We served the ball from the outside area into the box. We had some good looks tonight that we were able to finish on.”
The first of those opportunities came in the game's 13th minute, when West Lauderdale junior Megan Mallette found the ball in the box and buried it in the back of the net to put the Knights up 1-0.
“Honestly, that first goal was bigger for me than it was the girls,” George said. “Once we got that first goal, I felt we could relax and settle into our game.”
The Knights would strike again 10 minutes later, when junior Jami Daugherty headed a loose ball into the net.
“I just really wanted that goal,” Daugherty said. “That was my dream goal to score on a header, and it was there so I just went for it.”
In the second half, the Knights would continue to maintain possession of the ball and create scoring chances. Three minutes into the the half, the Knights earned a penalty kick after Newton County committed a foul in the box. Sophomore Abbie Pope made the Cougars pay, powering the ball inside the left goalpost to give the Knights a 3-0 lead.
Mallette would score another goal as would sophomore Lacy Billings as the Knights improved to 9-6-2 on the season and continued momentum heading their final regular season game at home against Northeast Lauderdale on Tuesday.
“It was a really great game,” Mallette said. “I have a really great team to assist me, and we have been playing really well this year.”
West secures home-field in the playoffs
The goals were simple for the West Lauderdale boys soccer team this season – beat Newton County and secure home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Friday night, the Knights accomplished both of those goals, as they took down the Cougars 5-0.
“We needed this win,” West Lauderdale head coach Bryan Miley said. “This sets us up for home-field advantage which is huge for us. It's big, we have 13 seniors on this team, and they are starting to gel. I couldn't ask for anything more from a team.”
Quinton Smith started the scoring off for the Knights 19 minutes into the first half, when he found the ball in the box and quickly knocked it in to give West a 1-0 lead.
The Knights would not waist anytime tacking on more goals, as 10 minutes later Caleb Carpenter scored the second goal of the game for West.
West would add another goal with three minutes before the half, when Chris Mallette buried a shot in the box to give the Knights a commanding 3-0 lead.
“Before the game we psyched ourselves up,” Mallette said. “Coach tells us to play 100 percent the whole entire game no matter what the conditions are. We just pushed through it and played well.”
Mallette would score a second goal in the second half, as West rolled to an easy win.
“I had an assist too,” Mallette said of his two-goal performance. “I'm more proud of that, but the two goals aren't bad either.”
The win improved the Knights to 14-3-2 on the season, as they head back home to take on Northeast Lauderdale on Tuesday in their last regular season game.