Alexandria Rowland

Lamar’s Alexandria Rowland passes the ball upfield during the Lady Raiders’ game against East Rankin Academy Thursday at Lamar. Rowland scored one of Lamar’s goals in the Lady Raiders’ 3-1 win.

Three different players for Lamar found the back of the net as the Lady Raiders edged East Rankin Academy 3-1 in Thursday in MAIS prep girls soccer action.

The Lady Raiders scored twice in the first half to take a 2-0 lead at intermission. The first goal came on a penalty kick by sophomore Alexandria Rowland after an ERA handball in the box, and seventh grader Bella Miller scored Lamar’s second goal.

After ERA cut the lead to 2-1 in the final 20 minutes, a late goal by Lamar’s Anniston Monsour, a seventh grader, gave the Lady Raiders a little more breathing room until the final whistle blew.

“I was very proud of the girls, because we had three key girls missing, and they were our midfield players,” Lady Raiders head coach Nina Galindo said. “Honestly, I hope this doesn’t come off in a rude way, but I had no expectations for this game, because I wanted to put players in new positions and see how it would work, and the girls understood that and stepped up big-time. They understood the task at hand, and last time we went to (ERA) we lost 1-0, so we knew it would be a battle, and they held their own and found the net three times.”

Sharing players with other sports and other extracurricular activities has led to a balancing act between Galindo and other sports’ coaches, which can be stressful at times, but Galindo said she’s grateful for the coaches and players handling it well.

“Communication with the coaches is key to relieve (the players’) stress, because they’re student-athletes,” Galindo explained. “Sometimes people forget that they’re balancing this workload and so many different sports, and especially for these private schools, a lot of these top athletes are the top athletes in every sport. I want them to be able to represent each program in the best light possible, and that starts with the coaches. We have to be able to share each other’s players.”

Lamar (3-5, 2-0) returns to action when it hosts Presbyterian Christian School on Tuesday. The Lady Raiders hosted Heritage Academy this past Tuesday for a district contest and had a 1-0 lead at the 20-minute mark before rain forced the game to be suspended. A makeup date to complete the game has not been announced.

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