Sophomore striker Virginia Blake found the back of the net in the opening minutes for Sanderson, which proved to be all the Lady Spartans would need as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over host Heritage in a Cap Eight conference matchup.
Blake was the recipient of a gorgeous cross from junior midfielder Ashlyn Boyd, which she was able to bury into a wide open net to claim the early advantage for the Spartans.
“We have been working really hard on crosses in practice,” Blake said. “It was tough to get open in the box because they had most of their defenders in there, but Ashlyn did a great job of finding me and I was able to put it home.”
Sanderson (2-2, 1-1) was able to add an insurance goal with 20:06 left in the second half when sophomore defender Taylor Van Dyke fired a rocket past the Heritage (1-3-1, 0-1-1) goaltender into the top right hand corner of the net.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
The Spartans do not have one senior on the squad after losing twelve players to graduation last year, nine of which were starters. Todd Worley, who has coached Sanderson for the last 20 years, talked about how his team is coming together and has continued to improve as the girls get more opportunities to play with one another.
“We are an extremely young team and not being able to get out and practice really hurt us in the first few games of the season,” Worley said. “The girls are working really hard and continue to improve and mature with every game. Our biggest problem is that the girls really haven’t had too many chances to play together and get to know each others tendencies.”
Sanderson was forced to hold tryouts indoors in its high school gymnasium and Worley’s squad was only able to hold one outdoor practice before the season kicked off.
“The weather has forced us to hold most of our practices indoors, it has been a really weird year so far,” Worley said.
Sophomore goaltender Libby Stancil recorded her second shutout of the season without seeing too much action. Heritage tested Stancil a few times in the first half, but the smothering Spartans’ defense did not allow the Huskies to get a shot on net throughout the entire second half.
For the majority of the game, the action stayed around midfield as neither team was able to consistently control the ball. The difference was that Sanderson was able to capitalize on the few opportunities they received, while Heritage came up empty.
Heritage coach Scott Sloan was disappointed in his teams effort and felt as though they were not only outplayed, but that Sanderson simply wanted it more.
“Sanderson just completely outworked us. They beat us to every loose ball and we just did not compete at all tonight,” Sloan said. “The question is whether or not the girls want to fix this themselves and put forth the effort to win. Hopefully this is an eye opener and a wake up call for us because we had a compete level of zero.”