It was not a good night for either of the Whitley County soccer programs, as both the boys and girls teams lost to 49th District opponents Thursday at the WCHS soccer complex.
The boys team was coming off of an 8-1 victory over Middlesboro on Tuesday, and they were hoping to keep that positive momentum rolling with what would have been a huge win over district rival North Laurel Thursday night. It was not to be, however, as the Jaguars took a 3-0 lead with them into halftime, and then scored six goals in the final 40 minutes to take the 9-0 victory.
“We were pumped up coming off of the win against Middlesboro, and even though we got scored on a few times, we were still able to hold them to 3-0 for a while,” explained Colonels Head Coach Jarred Earnest after the loss. “We just got tired, and we stopped playing. I’m glad that we were able to keep it from being a mercy rule finish, but we just did not continue to fight like we should have. It was really frustrating.”
Earnest is hoping that his team can get back on the practice field sometime between now and the beginning of next week in order to prepare for another tough district matchup on Monday with the visiting Corbin Redhounds. The Colonels will be entering into that contest at 1-2. Corbin currently sits at 2-0, and have a road game this Saturday at Perry County Central.
Over on the other side of the Whitley soccer complex Thursday, the Lady Colonels battled the Corbin Lady Hounds in what would be the first district action that either squad had seen so far this year. Whitley was coming into this contest with a 2-0 record after picking up wins over Wayne County and Casey County, while Corbin was coming in at 1-3 after a loss to Sayre and a trip to Gatlinburg last week where they went 1-2 against Tennessee teams over the course of two days.
The early stages of Thursday’s competition was competitive, but once the Lady Hounds started scoring, they couldn’t be stopped. Junior Nikki Wells scored first on a penalty kick, and then she made it 2-0 with another goal about 12 minutes later, with just over 20 minutes remaining in the first half. Goals by Abby Baker, Carly Stone and Mady Saylor followed, making it 5-0 at the half. Baker and Wells both scored goals in the second half, giving Corbin the 7-0 victory.
“We got off to a little bit of a late start,” said Lady Hounds Head Coach Hannah Goins. “We possessed the ball, but we were having trouble scoring. I’m glad that we were finally able to get into that groove where we were hitting shots and finding the back of the net. “
When asked about the recent trip to play in the Smoky Mountain Cup, Goins said, “I think the Gatlinburg trip really helped us. We faced some tough competition, but we were able to possess the ball well and do a lot of really good things. I think it was a good experience for us overall, even though we did lose two games out of three.”
As for where Whitley stands after their first loss of the season, Head Coach Kelly Sawyers said, “I feel like we really slowed down during the last ten minutes of the first half, and that’s when their momentum kicked in. When we’re hustling we can hang, but when we let off of that hustle and the aggressiveness, that’s when we lose momentum. In the second half, I feel like we didn’t stay with our marks very well. Red was always open. Some things to work on in the future will be learning to stay with our marks, and also staying onsides. We were caught offsides multiple times tonight.”
The Corbin girls will now prepare to play in Somerset this Saturday against Pulaski County, while Whitley will attempt to regroup and get back on track next Tuesday at Bell County.