Marshall County takes down Cornersville
The last time Marshall County and Cornersville met on the soccer pitch, the Tigerettes set a school record for wins to open the season with seven in a row, but one year later the Lady Bulldogs (6-5) traveled to Lewisburg as winners of four of its last five games while the Tigerettes (4-5-2) looked to break a two-game winless streak.
Unlike last season when all but one senior scored a goal for the Tigerettes on senior night, the underclassmen were the stars on the offensive end as sophomore Patience Ferguson tallied the first hat trick of the season for Marshall County and junior Grace Smith added a goal as the home team ran away with the match by a 4-1 score.
"I put a challenge to our captains Thursday night after the game and they stepped up," MCHS coach Mark Redferrin said. "Had a hat trick from Patience (Ferguson) and Grace (Smith) had a phenomenal goal, we just had good looks all night just because of possession and ball movement."
"Overall we did things that we have practiced and practiced and practiced and we finally did those tonight and when you do things that you practice good things are going to happen," Redferrin added.
The Tigerettes jumped out to any early lead when Ferguson scored a goal just two and a half minutes into the contest and the sophomore added a second goal a mere seven minutes later on an assist from Smith as the Lady Dawgs found themselves in a 2-0 hole less than 10 minutes into the contest.
"We worked so much better together tonight," Ferguson said. "We had our minds focused, we were ready for this game and we came out ready to play."
The Lady Bulldogs refused to panic, despite the Tigerettes controlling possession for the majority of the first half and Cornersville dug deep and held Marshall County scoreless the rest of the period to remain within striking distance.
"I think we did a good job getting back in the game," Cornersville's Sydney Downs stated. "We still competed well after getting down so fast. We learned to play through (the adversity) even though we were down."
Downs gave the visitors a glimmer of hope when the talented freshman scored the first goal of the night for Cornersville seven minutes into the second half, pulling the maroon and white within a goal at 2-1.
The Tigerettes regained control of the contest at the 25:14 mark when Grace Smith nailed a beautiful shot from long distance on the right side of the field when the ball ricocheted of Cornersville goalie Mikaela King's arm to add cushion to the lead at 3-1.
Practice pays off
"I got passed the ball and I kind of faked the defender out and leaned left, then I went right and I just shot," Smith recalled. "Coach Red has me practice that all of the time in practice and before games so it just kind of came easy to me."
Cornersville tried valiantly to come back from the two goal deficit with Downs getting off several shots on the goal but Marshall County goalkeeper Haley Porter found a way to block each and every Bulldog attempt and with a shade over 11 minutes remaining, Ferguson capped off a night to remember with her third goal that cruised high over the goalkeepers head into the upper reaches of the right corner for the 4-1 win.
"Pretty much our offense and defense have been separating in practice and we've been working on our specialties," Smith said. "We just worked a lot better this game and we kind of have a rivalry with Cornersville and that helped boost our confidence."
The Tigerette defense has now given up just one goal in its four wins and other than five goal setbacks against Clarksville and Cascade, MCHS has not allowed more than three goals in a game.
"We just know how to shut down," senior defender Summer Garrett said. "We work together really well and we know how each other works mentally. All of us seniors were really happy with the win and we couldn't be any happier than we are tonight."
The Lady Bulldogs will try and get back on track Tuesday against undefeated Montgomery Central before facing Columbia Academy, Huntland and Forrest.
The Tigerettes wind up their regular season against Webb School.
The Tigerettes face a tough challenge against longtime rival Giles County before taking on Middle Tennessee Christian and Lawrence County prior to the start of the district tournament.