Nina Galindo won her first game as head coach of the Lamar girls soccer team in convincing fashion Tuesday.
In a rematch of last year’s MAIS Class AAAA, Division II first round playoff game, the Raiders roared out to nine goals in the first half en route to a 12-0 victory over Magnolia Heights in the season opener at Lamar.
“As a competitive athlete, I was nervous at first,” Galindo said. “But I had so much faith, and I believed in my players. I felt that we were going to get the W.”
For the first 15 minutes of the contest, Lamar failed to capitalize on several opportunities to score with missed breakaway shots and openings on goal.
After junior striker Emma Kate Uithoven gave her team the lead with a goal in the 24th minute, the floodgates opened.
“Once we got the first goal, it just motivated the rest of the team to get more goals,” Uithoven said.
The Lady Raiders continuously flew past Lady Chief defenders and scored four more times from four different players in a six-minute span until Uithoven scored back-to-back goals to earn her first hat trick of the season. She scored once more before the end of the first, giving her four for the game.
Sophomore midfielder Ali Rowland also picked up a hat trick, scoring twice in the first half, and sophomore forward Anna Catherine Evans notched a goal in each half.
The Lamar defense was just as efficient, not allowing a single shot on goal through the first 50 minutes until an easy save off a set piece gave Magnolia Heights its first. The Chiefs managed to get a second shot on target later in the second half.
“They were very successful covering people and making sure nobody got behind them,” Uithoven said of the defense.
Galindo said the team’s production on offense was initiated from the defense.
“We wanted to start working out from the back to have that strength to go forward,” Galindo said. “That was our plan, to stay strong defensively.”
Galindo, hired as head coach in May, said having her players bare down on their competition is how she wants to run the team this year.
“The moment I met my players, I told them my philosophy is in order to fully respect your opponent, you have to go all out the entire game,” she said. “And if that means we can beat them 20-0, 15-0 or 12-0, then we need to do that.”
Lamar returns to action Thursday at East Rankin Academy in Senatobia.