Starkville Academy's Tiffany Huddleston, left, looks to advance the soccer ball down the field against Washington School Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers put an end to a four-game soccer losing streak and earned its first victory of the season by defeating the Washington School Generals Tuesday 6-0 at the Starkville Sportsplex.
The win came on SA head coach Robert Gardnerâ€™s birthday and puts their record at 1-4 for the season.
After allowing eight goals in the final half of the previous two games, the Lady Vols controlled possession for most of the match and only allowed one shot on goal for the entire game.
According to Gardner, possession and defense are two areas of their game in which they have been emphasizing.
â€śAfter the way we finished last week, I thought it was a good performance (Tuesday) and I thought we defended well when we had to,â€ť Gardner said. â€śI thought the movement of the ball was really good, sometimes it felt like there were 10, 12, 14 passes in a row but just a proper step in moving us forward.â€ť
The goal keeper for Washington had a busy night with the Lady Vols having a total of 13 shots on goal and the first goal coming from senior and Mississippi State commitment Tiffany Huddleston about mid-way through the first half. That got things started to give Starkville Academy a 1-0 lead.
Once the first ball went into the back of the net, it seemed to go in with more consistency as the game totaled five different players scoring goals. Â Â
Huddleston said that it is important to be able to depend on a variety of players to contribute to have success for the remainder of the year.
â€śThatâ€™s very important because nobody was relying on one specific person,â€ť Huddleston said. â€śItâ€™s always good to see many different players to get some stats.â€ť
The score at halftime was 2-0 following sophomore Anna McKellâ€™s breakaway goal from the right side to the far post and in.
The Lady Vols controlled possession once again in the second half and went on to score the four remaining goals. It did not take long for the scoring to begin as 8th grader Sydney Passons stole the ball and found the back of the net from outside the box.
Senior Jessica Dennis, who missed the first two games of the season due to injury, scored the fourth and sixth goals of the game for her first two goals of the season. The final goal headed into the net from a corner off the leg of senior Tiffany Evans, who scored the fifth goal of the game.
There were many corner attempts during the match, but this was the only successful one.
â€śWe worked on a few set pieces, but honestly, I havenâ€™t scored in practice when weâ€™ve played on it,â€ť Dennis said. â€śIt was a nice cross from Evans and I just knew that I was there in the open and I just used my head to put it in."
Evansâ€™ goal and assist was her first of the season as well and according to her, the win and her performance is a confidence booster with division rival Presbyterian Christian coming up next.
â€śWe came into this one really wanting to win and impress at home," Evans said. "It is another good thing to finally get my first goal and my first assist. It just builds confidence for PCS coming up, it was a good thing."
Starkville Academy travels to Presbyterian Christian on August 23 for payback from last yearâ€™s semifinals loss in the playoffs.
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