After suffering a 6-0 loss at the hands of District powerhouse Page two days earlier, the Marshall County Tigerettes (5-3) withstood a brief scare from an upstart Wayne County squad Monday afternoon before defeating the Lady Wildcats 3-1 at home on Senior Day.
Wayne County came into the game with just one win on the season, but the Tigerettes seemed to have a tough time adjusting to the conditions of their rain soaked field and actually trailed the Lady Wildcats 1-0 midway through the first half.
Marshall County, though, eventually picked up their intensity and tallied a couple of goals in the final 18 minutes of the first half to take a 2-1 lead into the break before tacking on an insurance goal late in the second stanza.
"I think we overlooked Wayne County and were still tired from our game against Page on Saturday because we played really hard that night," said MCHS coach Lisa Raffo. "Wayne County has also gotten a lot better since the start of the season. Coach Baker has done a really good job with them this year."
The Tigerettes dominated possession time and outshot the Lady Wildcats 15-3 overall, but had trouble getting good looks at the net against Wayne County's packed in defense.
"We controlled the ball for most of the game, but we didn't have a lot of quality shots," said Raffo.
Senior midfielders Kaitlyn Pung and Cece Raffo each notched a goal and an assist to lead Marshall County's offensive attack, while attempting five and four shots respectively. Striker Abbie Perez also tallied a goal and fired three shots, and Elizabeth Nelson and Rachel Zajac took two and one shot respectively.
Margriet Coster, meanwhile, scored Wayne County's lone goal of the contest.
In net, MCHS goalkeeper Ja'Neice Cathey recorded two saves, while Lady Wildcat goalie Heidi Frazier finished with 10 saves.
Wayne County struggled to get the ball past midfield early on, but made their first deep incursion into Tigerette territory count, as Coster blasted a close range shot past Cathey in the 10th minute during a scramble in front of the net to give the Lady Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Although MCHS began to pick up their offensive pressure after that point, Frazier made three saves over the next nine minutes to preserve Wayne County's precarious one-goal lead.
The Tigerettes' persistence, however, finally paid off with a goal in the 22nd minute to tie the game at 1-1. After Pung fired a 15-yard shot from the right side of the field, the ball skipped through Frazier's hands and began to roll parallel to the goal line. Perez then out ran a Lady Wildcat defender to the loose ball and hammered home an uncontested shot from point blank range into the back of the net.
"I was worried at that point," said Lisa Raffo. "I think Abbie's goal boosted the team because up to that point we had been lackluster."
Marshall County seized a 2-1 advantage in the 35th minute when Cece Raffo intercepted a Wayne County pass in the middle of the field and lined a 12-yard shot just inside the right post.
MCHS completely controlled play in the second half, but were unable to pad their lead until the 69th minute when Pung took a crossing pass from Cece Raffo in the middle of the field and laced a 10-yard shot into the left corner of the net to make it 3-1.
The Lady Wildcats had a chance a to make things interesting a few moments later after they were awarded a penalty kick in the 70th minute thanks to a Marshall County hand ball inside the goalie box. Megan Strickland then attempted the penalty kick for Wayne County, but Cathey caught Strickland's shot cleanly before the Tigerettes held on for the 3-1 victory.