The Lady Cougar soccer team paid its respects on Monday to its only senior, Temple Strader, on Senior Night, but it was a cadre of young players who provided all the scoring in a 5-0 shutout of the visiting Monroe County Lady Falcons at the Cougar Soccer Stadium.
While having just one senior on a squad can be a negative for a team, this team has found success behind some very young players. Freshman Ellie Evans and sophomore Gillian Johnston both had a pair of goals in the shutout win, while freshman Malorie Zurmehly scored the other.
While the 5-0 win was impressive, the score might have been greater if not for some steady goal tending by the Falcon tender and some unlucky shooting by the Lady Cougars.
Grayson County dominated play from the beginning and had chance after chance at the Falcon goal tender, junior Melanie Thurman. At least eight times in the first half the Lady Cougars had great opportunities for goals but Thurman turned them aside. Many of those shots came on one-on-one opportunities, but the shots went right at Thurman, who handled them easily.
But in the 11th minute, the Lady Cougar got one past Thurman, as it turned out the only goal they needed. Awarded a free kick about thirty yards out in front of the Falcon goal, Strader put a ball right on the money, but Thurman was able to punch it away. There was a scrum in front of the goal and somehow Zurmehly came up with the ball and ripped a low shot that eluded Thurman to make it 1-0.
The score stayed that way until less than two minutes to play in the half. Zurmehly battled defenders from near midfield up the right sideline before sending a crossing pass to Evans, who then relayed it to Johnston who was all alone on the left side. Johnston took a dribble then sent a shot that beat Thurman on her left and the Lady Cougars took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
Ten minutes into the second half, Johnston put a shot on goal that was rebuffed by Thurman, but when the ball shot back to Johnston, she put the second shot into the net to make it 3-0.
Working the ball in front of the Falcon goal in the 60tht minute, freshman Destiny Frye sent a beautiful cross to fellow freshman, Mikayla Clemons, who had an empty net to shoot at, but got under the ball too much and sent it over the crossbar, as she held her head in frustration.
But less than a minute later, Evans got behind the Falcon defense and took the ball in on Thurman and beat her with a left-footed shot to make it 4-0.
Less than a minute later, Clemons assisted on the fifth goal after bringing the ball up the right side and sending a cross to Evans, who put the ball into the net to make it 5-0.
In the game’s final minutes, with the game well in hand, coach Elizabeth Priddy moved Strader from her usual defensive position up front and instructed her girls to try to get the ball to Strader for a goal on her senior night. Though they had some good opportunities, Strader had to settle for the win without her scoring.
With the win, the Lady Cougars moved to 7-5 for the year. They will be at home again this Thursday when they will be hosting the Lady Tigers of Breckinridge County. Game time will be 6 p.m.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org