In a week that should establish the pecking order among girls soccer title hopefuls in the Greater Neuse River Conference, Clayton did its part Monday in trying to establish itself once again as the top dog.
Holland Mills had three goals and two assists, and Everett Biggs added two goals and two assists and Janelle Reid scored two goals as Clayton rolled to an 11-3 victory over host West Johnston in a showdown of first-place teams in the Greater Neuse.
Clayton (10-1, 4-0) remains tied with Garner (4-5, 4-0) atop the Greater Neuse, while West Johnston (5-2-2, 3-1) dropped a game behind. Garner faces West Johnston on Wednesday, then meets rival Clayton on Thursday.
The Comets seized control early Monday, scoring three goals in the opening eight minutes and 28 seconds.
Biggs scored off a loose ball 54 seconds in, tapping the ball into an open net from close range to put Clayton up 1-0. She then assisted on Reid’s first goal, sending a high pass that was deflected by Reid into the net for a 2-0 lead with 35 minutes remaining.
Mills made it 3-0 with 31 minutes to go, outrunning a West Johnston defender and firing a 20-yard shot from the right side that curled just inside the right post for a goal.
West Johnston’s Robin Pollard cut the deficit to 3-1 when she scored off a corner kick with 30 minutes remaining, but Clayton answered with goals by Reid and Mills over the next 15 minutes to push the lead to 5-1.
They said it
“We knew what we needed to do,” Clayton coach Brian Stevens said. “I told the girls we wanted to stretch them early, so we played a lot of through balls real quick to pressure their defense because we have so much speed and talent up top. … Holland Mills, Janelle Reid, Everett Biggs, they are so strong up top.”
Three to know
Holland Mills, Clayton: The sophomore used her speed to outrun defenders on all three of her goals, and also did a nice job setting up offensive opportunities for her teammates.
Robin Pollard, West Johnston: The junior forward scored all three goals for the Wildcats.
Peyton Doyle, Clayton: The sophomore did a solid job marking Pollard throughout Monday’s match, and though Pollard had a hat trick, two of those goals came well after the outcome was no longer in doubt. “I had to change my play a little bit and stay more on top of her and be aware of my surroundings,” Doyle said.
By the numbers
5: The number of games that Clayton has scored seven or more goals this season. The Comets reached the seven-goal mark early in the second half on Monday.
7: Total players who scored goals for Clayton. Seven different players also notched assists.