LONDON — North Laurel might have received the wake-up call it needed heading into Thursday’s 49th District and 13th Region battle with rival Corbin.
The Lady Jaguars hosted Whitley County on Tuesday and found themselves in a battle early on with the much-improved Lady Colonels.
Whitley County jumped out to a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the game, but North Laurel answered with five consecutive goals to end the first half before pulling out a 9-4 win.
The five-goal victory improved the defending region champions to 6-1 overall and 2-0 against 49th District opponents while the Lady Colonels dropped to 8-2 and 2-2 against district foes.
North Laurel coach Rod Messer was pleased his team got the win but wasn’t too happy with his team’s performance throughout the 80-minute match.
“Of course if we would have connected on the number of shots we missed, it would have been a different game,” he said. “But you know, when you win 9-4 ... we controlled the game, but I’m not happy.
“I think we were looking past them a little bit with Corbin coming up (Thursday),” he added. “I talked to our girls before the game about that. Because they played us well last year at their place and I’m not surprised they scored some goals.”
Whitley County got on the scoreboard first thanks to the first of three goals by Kaylee Aslinger during the 14th minute.
The lead was short-lived, though as five different North Laurel players scored the remainder of the first half.
Madison Dagley’s goal during the 16th minute tied the game at one apiece while Olivia Rudder headed in a goal to give the Lady Jaguars a 2-1 advantage.
Madison Broyles gave North Laurel a 3-1 edge during the 29th minute while Meg Anderson and Mattie Mills each scored to push the Lady Jaguars’ lead to 5-1 at halftime.
Aslinger’s second goal of the contest, three minutes into the second half, cut the Lady Colonels’ deficit to 5-2, but goals by Dagley and Rudder extended North Laurel’s advantage to 7-2 with 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Whitney Owens added a goal during the 56th minute while Mills answered with one of her own to give the Lady Jaguars an 8-3 advantage.
Aslinger recorded a hat-trick with four minutes remaining before seeing Maddi Mastin add the game’s final goal to give North Laurel a five-goal victory.
Dagley, Mills, and Rudder each scored twice for the Lady Jaguars.
North Laurel will now shift its focus to Thursday’s game against Corbin while Whitley County will host Wayne County.
“I watched them play last week and they’re much-improved,” Messer said of Corbin. “They’re young, so you improve a whole lot quicker when you’re young. I think they’ll give us all we want and it will take a better effort than what we gave tonight.”