MURRAY — Bumps and bruises were expected Saturday night when the Calloway County girls’ soccer team faced off against the physical team from Madisonville North Hopkins.
The Lady Lakers got a taste of the physicality of what they might expect out of some of the tougher teams in the district as they took the loss to the Lady Maroons 5-3.
Head coach Jeremy Stom said it was a good way to introduce some of the younger players to that style of play because they will face it several times this year, and ultimately, that’s the true purpose of scheduling that opponent early in the year.
“This game means nothing in the grand scheme of things,” Stom said. “All it does is get us prepared for Marshall and Graves when we have to play a really tough strong opponent. That’s one of the reasons I schedule it early in the season, so we get a taste of what district play is going to be like.”
It didn’t take long for the Lady Maroons to get their first goal of the night. In the second minute of the game, sophomore Camryn LaGrange ran on to a long pass and finished with a nice shot beyond the reach of Lady Lakers goalkeeper Sunni Clark.
The Lady Lakers scored the equalizer moments later when Kaitlyn Price shook free in the box and put a shot in off the keeper in the 10th minute of play.
Calloway outshot the Lady Maroons 10-4 in the first half, but two of the four shots for MNHHS found the back of the net. The second on the game for LaGrange came in the 24th minute and gave the Lady Maroons the 2-1 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Lakers once again outshot the lady Maroons 9-7 but scored just two, one by Zoe Stom at the 54th minute and a second goal for Price in the 59th minute. However, the Lady Maroons scored three goals on their seven shots, including a third for LaGrange that gave her a hat trick for the game.
The offense had opportunities, but coach Stom said it seems that every game, the ball finds the post for them. This game was no different.
“We hit the post or crossbar three times again,” Stom said. “If we get those in, we might even win that game. It seems like it happens like that every game for us.”
Defensively, the Lady Lakers have some things to work on. Coach Stom said one of the biggest things is for his young backline to continue to grow and get their communication down so they can play together.
“It’s a young backline, so we’re still working on the communication issue, and working together as a unit, instead of one person going and trying to defend everybody,” Stom said. “They have to work together as a unit, the back four and the keeper.”
Just a couple of games into the season, the Lady Lakers have already seen scoring from three different players and they’ve gotten multi-goal games from two players. Coach Stom said he knows their offense has a lot of potential and potency.
“We’re capable of a lot; Zoe can put it in the back of the net,” Stom said. “We saw Kaitlyn do it tonight. Both of those girls are good with both feet, so that makes them doubly dangerous. Kaitlyn is a natural left-footer but she can strike a ball well with her right and Zoe is a natural right and she can strike a ball well with her left. We’re going to have other goals get scored. Elle (Carson), Anna (Hill), Addi (Schumaker) are all going to score goals. There’s going to be a lot of people that score goals for us this season.”
Another area of potential strength for the Lady Lakers this year will be their corner-kick set pieces. Against MNHHS, they nearly netted two goals and coach Stom said they are executing everything but the finish and he believes that will come very soon.
“We’ve got a few corner-kick plays that we run and the girls are really working at making the right runs and getting in there, and Bailey (Provine) is putting some good balls in the box for us to attack,” Stom said. “It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t finish a couple of them this time.”
Next up for the Lady Lakers is a road game against Christian County on Tuesday followed by a road game against district foe Marshall County on Thursday. Coach Stom said he knows what he needs to see from his team between now and Thursday for them to take down the Lady Marshals.
“We want to gel together better as a defensive unit,” Stom said. “Next game, we play Christian County and they’re probably not going to be as strong, so the defense will have time. They won’t be under as much pressure as what Madisonville put us under. We have Marshall next Thursday, so this is a good tune-up for that one. We’ll go to Christian County, and hopefully, it will be a little bit easier of a game and we won’t get so many knocks and bruises from that game and we’ll come out with a win and be on a high note going into Thursday.”