By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The Lady Colonels never had a shot at winning their first round game. Literally. Whitley County never got a shot off against South Laurel as the Lady Cardinals mercy-ruled their way to a 10-0 win in the opening game of the 49th District girls’ soccer tournament Monday.
“We try to treat every game, no matter who our opponent is, as if we are playing Notre Dame, the No. 1 high school team in the state all season long,” South Laurel coach Todd White said. “I tell them if we overmatch someone, I don’t want them to play that way. If we can beat them 10-0 in the first half, we’re going to beat them 10-0 in the first half.”
It looked like the Lady Cardinals might do just that as they opened a 7-0 lead with 19:50 in the half. White substituted freely, but also thought he saw his team lose a little focus around that time.
“I thought we came out at the beginning and played with some intensity. Then we got too much individualism out there where they want to dribble through the other team like cones,” White said.
Not that it made much difference in the outcome against a young Whitley County program, but he did not want to start a habit that would carry over to the finals against Corbin.
“When you play higher level teams you can’t do that, so we made adjustments. We wanted to move the ball around a little bit more. We wanted to be a passing team instead of a dribbling team,” White said.
The goals may have come too easy for the Lady Cardinals in the opening minutes. It took less than a minute for South Laurel to score its first goal with Karli Parker finding the goal on an assist from Haley House off a corner kick. Less than 20 seconds later, House made it 2-0 when she rolled a shot under Whitley County keeper Katelyn Rose. There was still 35:44 in the half when Parker worked her way from the sideline to the middle of the field. Then she patiently picked her shot for a 3-0 lead.
Kristen White scored the fourth goal on a through ball assist from Parker with 30:09 in the half.
It took less than two minutes for South Laurel to make it 5-0. House took advantage of a Whitley County goal kick. The sixth goal would come 20 seconds later. Again it was House scoring on an assist from Parker. The final goal of the half came with 19:50 when Sarah DeCarlo set up Parker, who made the shot with defenders all around her.
“I think near the middle of the first half they out hustled us and I thought my girls were playing as individuals and not as a team,” White said.
The second half would start much like the first. It took one minute for the Lady Cardinals to score. It was Parker from 20-yards out who made it 8-0.
With 35:25 to play, Holly Smith chipped a shot over the keeper after a long possession. Parker would end the game with her fifth goal with 32:30 to play.
White said his team appears to be playing their best heading into Thursday’s district championship game with Corbin, although they did lose their final two regular-season games.
“Madison Southern was probably our most complete game. They beat us 1-0 on a free kick with 50 seconds left. They were 14-1 coming in to play us with only one loss to Madison Central,” White said.
The biggest loss in the Madison Southern game was Madison McCowan, who went down with a knee injury.
“It’s hard to fill her shoes. We don’t have anybody really that’s capable of doing it,” White said.
The Lady Cardinals also lost to Class A state champion Lexington Christian in their final regular season game 3-0.
“We just didn’t get off the bus ready to play and dug ourselves a hole 2-0. We played them even the second half,” White said.