Northwestern girls beat Westside 10-0 in first round of Class AAAA state soccer tourney

bmccormick@heraldonline.comMay 6, 2013 

Northwestern was upset in the first round of the girls’ soccer state playoffs last year, but there wasn’t a chance of that happening again this year, no siree.

Monday night, Westside High School was the unfortunate victim of almost 365 days of stewing resentment as the Trojans (16-5) battered the visitors from Anderson in a 10-0 first round win. Lauren Watts scored a hat-trick, while fellow seniors Cara Pennington and Helena Moore each added a pair of goals. Sarah Eddy, Katelyn Hogan and Madeline Ramsey pitched in a goal each, as Cesar Robles’ Northwestern side scored six times in the first 18 minutes to put the contest on ice quickly, and set up a Wednesday second round matchup at home against T.L. Hanna.

There was no messing about in the first round this year for the Region 3 No. 1 seed Trojans.

“We knew last year’s feeling was not very good,” said Moore, “and we didn’t want to lose this game. We did not want to have that feeling we had last year. We just came in hard.”

Robles said afterward that his current team is much different from the one that slipped up in the first round to Boiling Springs.

“We’re a much better team,” he said. “We’re much more mature, much more confident, much more composed in front of goal, and it showed today.”

After several early warning shots at the Westside (8-10) goal, Moore made the breakthrough about two minutes in when she fired low past Taylor McClain to make it 1-0. The flood gates had been thrown open.

Westside simply couldn’t match Northwestern’s athleticism and speed of play, or the Trojans’ desire. Watts demonstrated when, with a bit of graft, she rooted out a loose ball in the box and fired in Northwestern’s second with four minutes played. She added the third with eight minutes elapsed when she dispossessed a Westside defender, cut inside and smashed the ball past a helpless McClain for a 3-0 lead.

Eddy tacked on the fourth with 27 minutes left in the half. A corner was cleared as far as her right boot, which sprayed a low drive into the corner via the keeper’s palm. Ramsey’s goal, the fifth, was the pick of the bunch. She bypassed one defender and picked her spot before rifling in from about 15 yards.

With 18 minutes gone, Hogan wrapped up the first half scoring when she was played free into the right channel. Her low finish caromed in off the left post and nestled in the opposite corner to cap off the Trojan blitz.

“Our goal was to attack from the beginning, just get any goals you can, and then slow it down,” said Moore. “We’ve been practicing finishing, and obviously it showed off tonight.”

The Trojans bashed in four more goals in the second half’s first 12 minutes. Watts used her speed to get around the outside and her cross was slowed by McClain, but Pennington was on hand to guide home the rebound with two minutes gone. The senior striker added her second a couple minutes later when she cut a shot against the grain into the left corner for an 8-0 Northwestern advantage.

Watts got her hat-trick about a minute after, drilling a low shot into the corner, before Moore, one of the shortest players on the field, rounded out the scoring with a looping header.

That the game even happened was a testament to the Northwestern soccer program’s afternoon effort.

2 p.m. Monday found the Trojans on the field with rollers, field drying chemicals and even shop vacuums, literally sucking the water off the soggy pitch after a weekend of torrential rain.

“We easily emptied out 10 to 15 big, massive buckets of water off of the field,” said Robles. “It was still a little soggy, but it was playable.”

With a 60 percent chance of rain Tuesday morning, the Northwestern boys, who host Rock Hill Tuesday night, might not be as lucky.

“It’s a little muddy,” said Moore, laughing.

Bret McCormick •  329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T

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