Lady Bulldogs garner tie at Murfreesboro

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs took a break from district action with a trip to Murfreesboro to take on Middle Tennessee Christian School for a rare Monday night contest.

The Bulldogs found the Cougars (1-8-3), who finished last season with 10 wins and a district semifinal appearance in 1A, experiencing growing pains in its first season at the D-IIA level, having scored just three goals in its past nine games and only 13 scores in 12 total contests.

And while the Lady Bulldogs (1-5-1) held the Cougars to another scoreless outing, Cornersville also struggled on the offensive end and the two squads ended the match with a 0-0 tie in a strong defensive showing for both clubs.

Ema Groves (8), Victoria Gross (20), Mikaela King (goalkeeper), and Bethany Carlton (21) get into position to defend against a Kaylee Vaughn corner kick.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

"They've picked it up on defense," Cornersville coach Lindsey Bledsoe pointed out. "We've practiced a lot on that side of the ball. We've worked a lot on defense and defensive strategies and that's why we ended up with all the off sides calls and things like that."

"So it was a victory defensively, yes."

Despite the scoreless tie, the contest was not without its offensive moments with Hunter Campbell and Moira Borne both getting off quality shots that barely missed their marks in the first half and Suany Armijo coming close to breaking the scoreless effort midway through the second half.

Cornersville’s Ema Groves (8) gains control of the ball before moving downfield against MTCS' Sophie Spivey.

"I feel like we got better as the game wore on," Bulldog senior co-captain Victoria Gross explained. "We kind of got more into it and knew what the game was. That's kind of how our team is, we get in it as the game goes on. I feel like our shots were right there, but we just didn't get that perfect shot."

The Cougars missed an early chance at the lead when Sophie Spivey launched a shot down the middle the missed by inches, bouncing off the left side of the goal at the 27:31 mark.

The Lady Bulldogs finally found its offensive feet midway through the first half when Campbell out ran the Cougar defenders, but slightly missed on a great save by the MTCS goalkeeper.

Cornersville continued its offensive attack with a Borne corner kick that bounced off the right side of the goal and a breakaway shot that came up just short at the 8:01 mark.

The rest of the half belonged to goalkeeper Mikaela King and the back defensive line of Bethany Carlton, Elizabeth Taylor, Emma Groves, and Gross as the group kept the Cougars without anything close to a productive offensive sequence until the break.

"Everyone working together was the key on defense," Gross stated. "Communication is definitely the key on the defensive line. We've got to see who wears what and kind of get them off sides, stay in line and just play our game that we know how to play."

The second half offered even less on the offensive end for either squad.

Spivey got behind the Bulldog defense just under the 28 minute mark and King made a brilliant save to keep the shutout intact.

Armijo broke away for an open shot at the 22:37 mark, but another quality save left the two teams knotted at zero when the final whistle blew.

The Lady Bulldogs have its next shot at a win with a trip to winless Culleoka on Tuesday before heading to Lynnville on Thursday for a showdown with former district rival Richland to wrap up the week.

Cornersville won easily over the Warriors 6-0 last season, but took a 4-1 defeat against the Raiders in 2016.

"I feel like we're good but we really haven't reached our potential," Bledsoe said. "These girls don't understand what kind of talent they actually have in comparison to the other girls."

"So really what we as coaches have to do for the rest of the season is just build them up mentally and try and build our confidence rather than continue to just force basics down their throats."