Carson and teammates celebrate

Elle Carson (10) joins her teammates in celebration after scoring on a header to take the lead over McCracken County on Tuesday night. The goal would be the game-winner as the Lady Lakers held McCracken scoreless in a 1-0 win.

MURRAY — The Lady Lakers earned a massive regional win last night over the visiting McCracken County Lady Mustangs 1-0 on a goal from the head of Elle Carson.

Defense was the name of the game on Tuesday night as rain showers fell on the field at Calloway County. Not only did the Lady Lakers (4-1) back line play an incredible game, but goalkeeper Sunny Clark was outstanding making saves on shots from distance and up close. The shutout was the third of the year for the junior keeper, but the first game that showed head coach Savana Thielen what she was truly capable of doing in the frame.

“This is the first time Sunny has been tested from range,” Thielen said. “She had shots coming in from every angle and as a former goalkeeper myself, it was good to see that she was able to make saves in the air and on the ground. She came in big for us multiple times and had some really good saves. I was excited to see her tested, just to see what she can do in game for us moving forward and she played great.”

As well as she played, credit also goes to the defense that stopped McCracken (5-2) from scoring. The shape the defense took and held as well as the way they handled the ball were huge factors in the shutout.

“We are finally getting more compact on defense and learning a good subbing rotation,” Thielen said. “We were just making sure that we could keep the ball out of the back, if possible, but if we did have the ball in the back to play the ball and keep the ball. We don’t want to just kick the ball because that’s what we had been doing the last few games, so that was something we were working on, possession out of the back. I think the girls executed that well.”

With the defense playing a great game, the offense needed to step up and for that senior Elle Carson made the biggest play of the night. However, she wouldn’t have been able to score if it weren’t for two passes made on a breakaway. Addi Schumacher pushed the ball up the field and then played it out wide for Kaitlyn Price. That pass set up Price for a high arcing pass into the box that Carson finished. It’s something the Lady Lakers have failed to do all season, but Thielen said it has been part of the attack all along.

“Kaitlyn got that left foot behind it and got a good cross in to the box to Elle’s head and she came up with a finish,” Thielen said. “We’ve been working on those combinations of getting the ball out wide and playing it in to the box and we haven’t been successful so far this season. So I was glad to see that piece come together. We knew that could be an option for us this season and we finally got an execution on it. “

The win was huge for the Lady Lakers as they continue to build confidence and find out what they are truly capable of doing in the region. They gave the Lady Mustangs their second loss of the year and put the rest of the region on notice.

“It’s always good to get a win against a very strong region opponent,” Thielen said. “McCracken has had a great season so far…so, we are excited to get a home win. The girls are playing good soccer right now and I’m excited for them. They are really happy with how they are playing and we are taking what we are learning in practice and putting it to use on the field. I don’t want them to get overconfident though. We just need to keep playing good soccer and I think we are getting better every game.”

The Lady Lakers will look to keep the momentum going as they head to Marshall County on Thursday night to face the Lady Marshals in a district game with seeding on the line. Game time is set of 5:30 p.m.

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