Neither the thunderstorm that eventually led to the game being called early nor the scoreboard that was turned off after several weather delays could prevent or deny the inevitable from happening Thursday night as the Corinth Holders girls soccer team traveled to Cleveland.
The Pirates (16-3-1, 9-0) clinched their second consecutive Two Rivers 3A Conference title with a 5-0 win over the second place Rams (8-8-1, 6-3).
Lindy Morgan scored a pair of goals and Rylee Bays added one goal and two assists in the contest, which was called off just 10 minutes into the second half on a night that saw the initial kickoff time pushed back over an hour with even more pending storms looming.
For Corinth Holders, the conference title was an important goal, but just one of hopefully more to come as the Pirates look to avenge a first round, overtime loss in the state playoffs a year ago that still stings.
“They’ve got to continue working hard,” said Corinth Holders coach Alison Vetterl. “The main goal is to get to that state championship and we left it on a sour note last year and we don’t want that to happen again.”
Less than 10 minutes into the game, Lexie Chase worked the ball down the left wing and sent a cross in front of the goal that ultimately fell right to the feet of the Pirates’ dangerous leading goal scorer, Carolina Solis.
Solis wasted little time in finding the back of the net with her 41st goal of the season and the virtual flood gates opened up as Corinth Holders netted three more goals by halftime for the 4-0 lead at the break.
Morgan’s first goal came off of a free kick in the early stages of the first half. From just outside the left corner of the 18-yard box, Morgan curled her ball around the wall and over Rams keeper Bailey Curtis for the 2-0 lead.
Three to watch
Lindy Morgan, Corinth Holders: Morgan found the net twice for her 10th and 11th goals of the season. Her blast from the edge of the penalty box in the second half put an exclamation mark on the convincing performance.
Erica Boswell, Corinth Holders: The sophomore midfielder did an admirable job at switching the point of the attack for the high-scoring Pirates. Boswell found the net herself in the first half off of a nice feed from Bays.
Kendall Lamm, Cleveland: With Amaya Wall at first and then Hannah Evans later being forced to play defense due to other injuries, Lamm was the Rams’ most dangerous threat going forward. Twice she tested Pirates’ goalkeeper Rachel Witkin with shots from outside the box and came closest to scoring on a header inside the six-yard box midway through the opening half.
Out of bounds
On senior night, there was one senior who stood out from the others for Cleveland. Four-year varsity player and defensive leader Briele Cochran sustained ligament damage in her knee the week prior and it looked as though she would not be able to see game action from inside the lines for the remainder of her high school career.
However, Cochran was called when the starting lineup was announced, and took the field, crutches and all, as the Rams took the opening kickoff. After Cleveland subsequently yielded possession of the ball by kicking it out of bounds, Cochran left the field for one final time.
Joining Cochran were fellow seniors Hannah Evans, Sarah Ginn, Estefanie Pedrozo and Monica Willis in their last regular season home game.
“I was hoping with senior night that we had it in us and they played their hearts out,” said Cleveland coach Marissa Wingate. “No one deserved to win it more than my seniors this year. I wish I could have given them a win on their senior night.”
They said it
Witkin, Corinth Holders’ senior keeper, collected her 12th shutout of the season and 15th win but it was the second Two Rivers title that had her happiest after the game on Thursday.
“It’s meant a lot to me because this team has meant so much to me,” Witkin said. “We have worked so hard for it.”
Sidney Buss, Cleveland: Buss drew the unenviable task of trying to slow down Solis but held her own in three separate instances in which Solis worked herself into 1-on-1 matchups against the freshman defender.
By the numbers
3: Goals allowed by Corinth Holders in nine conference games.
4: First half saves from Cleveland freshman goalie Curtis.
16: Players on Corinth Holders roster who have been credited with at least an assist or a goal on the season.
20: Consecutive Two Rivers Conference wins for the Pirates.