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Lady Cats win big over Carroll and Grant

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HCHS girls soccer

By Greg Woods

sports@hclocal.com

The Henry County Lady Cats traveled to Dry Ridge Sept. 3 and came away with an 8-5 win over the Grant County but not before the Lady Braves had built a two-goal lead.

After they fell behind 2-0, the Lady Cats scored eight consecutive goals to take command of the game.

Presley Crowe scored the first goal with 27:10 left in the first half on a shot from 16 yards after receiving a pass from Devyn Downey.

Three minutes later, Jenna Hardin took a free kick that Crowe pounced on for a score from six yards out.

With 22:50 left Gracie Brent dropped a ball to Ella White in the six yard box for a close range goal to make it 3-2.

Less than a minute later, Hardin fed a through ball to Crowe who scored from 12 yards out to make it 4-2.

Two minutes later, Hardin found Crowe on an almost identical play to make it 5-2 going into halftime.

Hardin and Crowe combined again at the 31:50 mark of the second half with Crowe scoring from six yards out to make it 6-2.

Crowe turned provider on the next goal as she fed Brent in the six-yard box for an easy goal to make it 7-2 with 20:50 left in the game.

Hardin scored the final goal with 10:50 when White dropped the ball to her for a 12-yard shot to make it 8-2.

Grant County continued to play hard and pulled back three goals but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Cats snapped a three-game losing streak.

“We played on a really poor surface but overall we played really well,” Henry County head coach Shelby Mings said. “We allowed too many goals and Grant did a good job of one-touch finishing. It exposed the fact that we weren’t goal side tight with runners in the final third.

“However, our through ball play was beautiful. We were able to easily get behind their defensive line and that was due in part to our quick passes and ability to see the field well.”

Mings said a tactical change helped the Lady Cats play better in the attack.

“We changed our formation and it helped us balance our field and transition the ball from one side of the field to the other more effectively,” she said. “It was so nice to get out of our slump and start scoring and playing well again”

Mings was particularly impressed with a trio of juniors.

“Presley Crowe had a great showing with five goals,” Mings said. She did a great job of pulling their goalie off her line and finishing. Jenna Hardin and Emma Morgan were also solid in the midfield, winning balls out of the air and creating for the team. We have struggled some in midfield this season and they looked amazing working together and feeding the rest of the team.”

The Lady Cats improved to 4-4 with the win. Grant County fell to 3-2-2 with the loss.

HCHS 7 Carroll Co. 1

The Lady Cats hosted Carroll County Thursday night and after a slow start, went on to win handily.

With 20:25 left in the first half, White dribbled forward from midfield after receiving a pass from Bridgette Keeling and scored from 18 yards out on the left.

The Lady Cats made it 2-0 with 15:06 left in the first half when White fed Crowe at the penalty spot and Crowe dribbled past the defense for a tap in.

Carroll County got back in the game on a breakaway goal with 3:19 remaining before the intermission.

But one minute later, Hardin dribbled from midfield and scored to make it 3-1 going into the break.

The Lady Cats increased their pressure on the Carroll County back line after the half and had multiple scoring opportunities before Crowe broke through with a goal from 12 yards out to make it 4-1 with 24:14 left in the game.

Crowe scored again on a breakaway with 17:36 left to put the game out of reach.

Keeling intercepted a ball in defense and dribbled the length of the field before firing a rocket into the upper left corner of the goal from 20 yards out to make it 6-1 with 17:04 left.

Crowe finished the scoring with a goal from six yards out with 13:08 left for her ninth goal in two games.

“We stuck to our game plan,” Mings said. “We possessed the ball and spread the field, which opened up a lot of scoring opportunities. We also played the ball quicker and emphasized less touches on the ball. I think we would have scored a lot more goals had we been able to hit the net instead of the goalie’s hands. We are also getting more sots off in general which, obviously, is helping our confidence on the attack.”

Mings singled out Keeling and White for praise.

“Bridgette Keeling and Ella White had great games for us,” Mings said. “Ella was a big part of the attack and getting the ball out wide to create for the team. Bridgette played another solid game in the back. She has been a very strong vocal leader for us this year and when her teammates hear her, it is obvious in our play.”

Mings was glad to see her team get back on track after a tough run of form.

“This was a good confidence building week for us,” she said. “It was good to see the girls smiling again and having fun. We had been in quite a rut, and honestly, as a coach, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get them out of it. I think the formation change was refreshing, but even more important, was the mindset change that the girls have made. This team is good. This team has a lot of talent, but their minds are extremely powerful over their play. I think this is the boost we need to fuel us through the end of the season.”