It was a successful opening night for Coach Gus Denzik and his Peebles Lady Indians soccer team as they played host to the West Union Lady Dragons in an early Southern Hills Athletic Conference opener for both sides. The Lady Indians got a three-goal night from sophomore forward Aubrey McFarland and rolled to a 5-0 win over the visiting Lady Dragons.
“With 28 girls, we have done a tremendous amount of ball work and passing and it showed tonight in our unselfish play,” said Coach Denzik. “We were able to move the ball and defend.”
“The girls seemed to have picked up right where they were when last season ended.”
The Lady Indians got it rolling early as they put their first ball into the net less than four minutes into the contest. Sophomore Skylar Newman, from about 25 yards away, floated a ball that was just over the outstretched arms of West Union goalie Paige Welch. The shot softly nestled into the top of the net to give the home team a 1-0 advantage.
With Welch heading for a double digit save first half and doing an outstanding job in the net, the Lady Dragons were able to keep it a one-goal deficit for the next 13 minutes, until McFarland started her big game. At the 23:44 mark, Aubrey took a crossing pass from teammate Megan Scott and drilled it home for the 2-0 lead, which stood until the halftime break.
That lead stretched to three goals eight minutes into the second half on an athletic goal from McFarland. The sophomore drew Welch away from the net, then made a nice move to escape, and fired one into a wide open net for her second score of the game.
The second half was played almost entirely on the Peebles offensive end and they took advantage to score two more times. With 12:39 to play, freshman Matti Nichols made it a memorable opener for her as she scored her first career high school goal to make it 4-0.
“Matti is a freshman who I’ve tried to put in the midfield because I have a plethora of strikers,” said Denzik. “She is somebody that I thought might take half a season to adjust to the high school game but she is going to be at the high school level within a few games and be able to go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
Five minutes later, McFarland made it the hat trick with her third score, accounting for the final count of 5-0. It was a relatively easy shutout for Peebles goalie Shanien Swango, who spend most of her evening standing at the top of the goal box watching the action on the other end.
Though the final stats show her giving up five goals, West Union goal keeper Paige Welch put up an impressive performance, making double digit saves to keep the final score from looking much worse.
“The Peebles girls showed a nice, well-balanced attack and played some solid defense,” said West Union head coach Joe Kramer. “Our girls were very solid at times during the game and we have the potential to really grow during the season.”
The Lady Indians will be back in action on Aug. 28 when they play host to the Northwest Lady Mohawks and West Union will host Lynchburg on Friday and travel across the river to battle St. Patrick on Aug. 27.
W. UNION 0 0 —0
PEEBLES 2 3 —5