Warriors revving up
Looking like a well-oiled machine, the Whittell High girls soccer team motored through the visiting Dayton Dust Devils 8-0 Wednesday in a Nevada 3A contest in Zephyr Cove.
“We definitely dominated the action today,” Warrior coach Mike Leeper said. “We were controlling the ball really well.”
It only took 10 minutes for the Warriors to get things going, when forward Jackie Laurian sent a cross from the right corner into the box. The pass deflected hard off a Dayton defender and landed right on the foot of Arianna Rodriguez, who blasted a shot inches under the cross bar for a 1-0 lead.
After notching the first goal, the Warriors seemed to shift out of first and into second gear.
Laurian got back in the mix on an awesome individual effort that saw her step over the ball, juke her defender and bury it in the top-left corner.
Down 2-0, things started getting a bit more physical as the Warriors continued to press in the Dust Devil zone.
Once again, Laurian showed her aggressive style in the box, stripping a Dayton player of the ball with a nice tackle. But as she was moving into the box, she was bombed hard by a defender, which set up a successful penalty kick off the foot of Jenna Hayes.
While Laurian finished the day with four goals, possibly the two best goals of the day came off set plays.
Midway through the first half, Hayes put a solid foot on a cornerkick, sailing the ball perfectly to the far post. Waiting there was teammate Kaitlin Green, who one-timed the ball out of the air and into the back of the net.
“We’re a threat to score on every cornerkick,” Leeper said of Hayes’ foot. “She sends beautiful balls right there, and all you have to do is get in front of one of them.”
On the other set play, Hayes showed off her foot again. On a free kick from outside the 18-yard box she perfectly placed the ball into the high corner of the net.
“We’re scoring a lot of goals off our set plays,” Leeper said. “That’s a good thing for us.”
With the win, the Warriors move to 8-2-1, and for a young team seem to have things clicking at the right time.
“The girls are buying into the system and it’s showing in the standings,” Leeper said. “The structure is there; it’s just a matter of getting a little more strength and getting our injured players back healthy. When that happens I think we might have a good chance to make a nice run.”
Laurian also believes the team is beginning to gel.
“I think it finally came together today,” she said, “We’re really starting to work as a team … an offensive family. We just need to continue working hard and keep the intensity up.”
The Warriors will face a tough challenge this Saturday when they travel to North Tahoe to open league play.
“It’s going to be a tough game this weekend,” Hayes said. “But hopefully our good luck will continue.”
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