By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
BERRYVILLE -- Despite registering a dominating 3-0 shutout of Warren County on Wednesday, Clarke County's girls soccer team is far from satisfied. The Eagles took 29 shots against the Wildcats' defense and were frustrated at their lack of success scoring.
"Obviously, we're going to get to work on finishing our goals," Clarke County coach Terry Ellis said. "That's going to be what we work on the most in practice until we begin to have some success with it. We're a well rounded team right now, but we need to get better at putting points on the scoreboard."
If willpower is any measure of the Eagles potential to fix that problem, freshman forward Aubrey Fletcher certainly demonstrated that in the early moments of the game.
Just three minutes in, Fletcher smashed a loose ball in the penalty box so hard that it ricocheted off a Wildcats defender into the net for the first goal of the game.
"I was in the box and I just took the shot," Fletcher said. "They had the area really packed so I just tried to shoot it right though them."
The Eagles dominated play in the first half, winning almost all of the 50-50 balls and keeping play deep inside Warren County's half of the field. The result was a flurry of good scoring opportunities that just wouldn't go into the net.
"I thought that we did a really good job of beating them to the ball," Clarke County center midfielder Logan Johnson said. "But we just weren't able to finish as well as we wanted to. We did what we had to do to win though."
The Eagles outshot the Wildcats 19-1 over the first 40 minutes of play, but were not able to score another goal until the 22-minute mark of the first half.
It was Fletcher who again provided the scoring for Clarke County. Taking a pass from Meredith Roberts, Fletcher outraced the Warren County defense for a breakaway goal.
"Meredith just gave me a perfect pass," Fletcher said. "But we still need to work on our offense. We all had a lot of really good chances tonight that we just didn't finish."
One major problem for the Eagles was Wildcats goalkeeper Kelly Martin who had an outstanding first half in goal. The Warren County sophomore made nine saves in the first half, snuffing out several excellent scoring opportunities for the Eagles.
"Both of our goalkeepers had an excellent game," Wildcat coach Mike Carpenter said. "I'm not sure what it was, but it just took us a little while to get going tonight."
Warren County's play improved considerably in the second half. The Wildcats were able to get three good shots on the Eagles goal, and cut Clarke County's scoring opportunities in half.
"I was very impressed with the way we didn't give up," Carpenter said. "In the second half we came out and played much better. We worked hard without the ball, and we were able to win some of those 50-50 balls too. We just worked better as a team."
The Wildcats' improved play kept the second half scoreless until the final moments of the game.
A pass from Eagles midfielder Lauren Senyitko hit Roberts perfectly, and Roberts put it past Wildcats goalkeeper Haley Mills for the final goal of the game.
"We're really playing well on defense and at midfield so far this season," Ellis said. "The kids are picking up our system well and it's showing on the field. Now if we can just get those balls to go into the net more often and well be fine."