New programs in any sport rarely experience success in their first season, much less their first game, which means the result for the first soccer game in Harlan County High School history was something of a surprise, at least for everyone but coach David Day.
“We are very excited about how far this team has came in just a short amount of time. Their work ethic is tremendous and we are expecting great things from this season,” said Day after his Lady Bears rolled to a 7-0 win Tuesday at Bell County.
The game was scoreless through one half before Taylor Rowe became the answer to future trivia questions when she scored the first goal in school history.
From that point, the game turned into a rout as Madison Blanton, Kali Nolan and Abigail Stephens had two goals each.
“The offense played through their nerves the first half of the game. Once they began to play their game they really got rolling,” Day said. “We continually pressured the Bell County defense, and once we broke through they really took off. We substituted often to keep fresh legs out there, but they all did excellent. Taylor Rowe, Madison Blanton, Hannah Gaw, Cameron Owens and Amber Allen started the game for us tonight and did an excellent job. We moved Abigail Stephens out of the defense to the midfield and substituted Iris Sanchez, Kali Nolan and Angel Thomas throughout the game.”
Day aid the HCHS defense was especially strong as Elizabeth Ball had one save on the only shot attempted by Bell County the entire game.
“I was especially pleased with our defense,” Day said. “They kept us in the game while the offense wasn’t yet clicking. Elina Turner, Hailey Conway, Chelsey Caldwell, Shalora Neely and Melody Gross all played their hearts out and that made it possible for our offense to settle down and score the goals. Our goalies weren’t pressured much because of the defense in front of them, but for Elizabeth Ball and Haley Blakley to have a combined shutout that is impressive for a first game. It was a great overall team effort.”
Harlan County will play its home opener on Sept. 3 at noon against Knox Central.