The Lady Knights have a big game on Saturday against Morgan County in the Championship Game of the Lamar County Trojan Cup Invitational. However, on Wednesday they played an even bigger game against an arch rival. UL welcomed the Lady Bears from Griffin to Matthews Field on Wednesday, and anytime an UL team and Griffin squad compete in any sport, it becomes a high priority game, even more so when it’s a region game, as was the case on Wednesday.
The Lady Knights stepped up and delivered on a 9-0 shutout performance over the Lady Bears, moving their record to 3-0 and 1-0 in region play. UL seemed to be just a touch out of sync to start the game. After leading 3-0 at halftime, the Lady Knights came out and dominated the last 40 minutes with six goals.
“We played a horrible first half,” said Lady Knights head coach Jaime Joiner. “We talked at halftime about taking what we have been doing on the practice field and transferring that onto the field in the game. I felt we came out in the second half and stared to play UL soccer. We had a better shot selection and we moved the ball around the field much better in the second half.”
UL freshman Jordie Nelson started the Lady Knights’ scoring barrage at the 31:21 mark of the first half. With a 1-0 lead, another UL freshman, Brittany Cunningham, sent the ball over the Griffin keeper’s head, giving UL a 2-0 lead at the 30:17 mark of the first half. Christy Kennedy added the Lady Knights’ third goal of the game just two minutes later, blasting a ball past two Griffin defenders and into the back of the Lady Bears’ net.
Leading 3-0 to start the second half of play, UL came out with a sense of urgency. The Lady Knights seemed to look much crisper with their passes, and their shot selection was nearly perfect. Just two minutes into the second half, Akeila Raines made a run down towards the end line. Raines made a beautiful cross to Jordie Rogers, and the freshman blasted her second goal of the game.
With a 4-0 lead, Haley Baucom got on board the scoring bandwagon with a booming goal from the right side of the box, giving UL a 5-0 at the 32:59 mark of the game. Six minutes later, it was Cunningham who scored her second goal of the game, this time from nearly 25 yards out, as the ball was placed perfectly in the top right corner.
Leading 6-0, a Lady Knights’ newcomer scored the first goal of her high school career. Alicia Anderson dribbled the ball past defenders all the way towards the Griffin goal, scoring on a well placed ball. Upson-Lee led 7-0 at the 12:30 mark of the second half, when Taylor Massey was fouled in the box, giving the sophomore a penalty kick. Massey’s kick ricocheted off the keeper but Massey cleaned up the ricochet for the Lady Knights’ eighth goal of the game.
The Lady Knights final goal of the game came off the left foot of Mae Manley. With 6:07 left in the game, Manley got loose down the left side of the field, sending a great ball over the keeper’s head for her first career goal. Griffin never threatened to score, and the Lady Knights earned the 9-0 victory.
Upson-Lee will travel to Barnesville on Saturday to take on Morgan County in the Championship Game of the Lamar County Trojan Cup Invitational. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. at Trojan Field.