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Sallie Kate Richardson's hat trick led the Starkville Academy Volunteers to a big 14-0 division win on Tuesday night.
Starkville Academy's offense couldn't be stopped once it started scoring against Copiah, and Richardson, who just returned from an ankle injury, was the highlight of the offense with her three goals.
Richardson was excited to be back on the field and felt that it took her a little bit to find her groove.
"I started out slow but it started to pick up which is a plus," said Richardson.
SA assistant coach Katleyn Graben, who was filling in for head coach Robert Gardner, was glad to see Richardson on the field again.
"It was really good to see her back out there," said Graben. "It was encouraging to see her not shying away from the ball and going into tackles hard. I'm happy for her for that hat trick."
Richardson's hat trick was the highlight of the night until 7th grader Savannah Hubbard took a penalty kick late in the second half.
After a hand ball was called inside the goal area, the Vols were awarded a penalty kick, Graben knew who she wanted to take the kick and the entire bench yelled it out several times. They wanted Hubbard to take the kick and she did. Not only did she take the penalty kick, she scored the first varsity goal of her career.
"I'm really proud of her for stepping up and taking that because I know she didn't want to at first," said Graben. "A lot of young players don't like to be in the position, but I think it was important for her to see that even at her age, she can step up and make those plays."
On a big offensive night, the Vols scored their 14 goals off the feet of 10 different players. Bailey Clark and Tiffany Evans had two goals a piece while Payton Allen, Tiffany Huddleston, Jordan Jackson, Anna McKell, Mary Adel Rackley and Hannah Ball all scored one goal.Â
"I was very pleased with our offense," said Graben. "What's important to remember in these games is we need to work on what we're weaker at. We worked on our possession and I was happy with their effort and the result of the game."
Richardson led the offensive eruption but was more impressed by her team's play instead of her individual stats.
"I think I played pretty good, but as a team we played really good," said Richardson. "We connected passes and it was just a big improvement from the first game."
The offense had a banner night, but the defense was not to be out-done as it allowed only two shots on goal and Copiah got the ball past midfield only 12 times.
"Sometimes with these games your team can slack off and not try as hard, so I was proud of our defenses for staying awake and doing a great job of keeping them off of our half of the field," Graben said.
The blowout win improves the Vols to 1-1 in division and 3-2 overall. Their next opponent will be a non-division showdown with Heritage on Thursday, but they will resume division play next Tuesday when they host Jackson Prep.