Highland struggled offensively in their girls’ soccer sectional opener at home against Licking Valley on Saturday, a game that ended 5-0 in favor of the Panthers.
In the Division II playoff game, the Lady Scots struggled to control the ball, leading to few shot attempts on their part.
“We didn’t do a great job of moving the ball out of midfield,” said head coach Anthony Wilson. “We weren’t very accurate with passes, which led to them attacking us downhill.”
Licking Valley, who had defeated the Scots 3-0 in a September regular season contest, didn’t waste any time in getting on the board, as Reagan Campbell made it a 1-0 game barely one minute into the match.
Highland was able to get a shot on goal at the 34:50 mark of the half, but didn’t score. For the rest of the half, the Scots struggled to get back into a position to challenge the Panther goalie.
Licking Valley had no such problems. They made it 2-0 with a Sophia Crabtree goal at the 27:36 mark and added scores by Campbell and Emily McCullough to hold a four-goal lead going into the half.
Highland got off to a better start in the second half, getting a shot on goal in the first minute of action and also maintaining possession for a lot more time than in the first half, but could not light up their side of the scoreboard. Wilson noted that they switched some things up for the second half.
“We went to more a diamond midfield and also had an outlet on top of the diamond to help us,” he said.
Kylee White scored for the Panthers at the 24:51 mark to make it a 5-0 game, which was how the contest ended.
Wilson felt his team took a step forward this year, as they had a winning record and were able to host a sectional contest. With the next logical step being to earn a playoff win, the coach has ideas for what they need to do in order to accomplish that.
“In the offseason, we have to get stronger and faster and our technical skill has to get better,” he said.
Helping in that regard, the team will return a lot of talent in 2021. While the Scots graduate four seniors in Peyton Carpenter, Alicia Hand, Cori Milburn and Mary Thomas, they return a large number of contributors.
“We had three goals this year,” said Wilson. “To host a tournament game, to win 10 games and to win a tournament game. If we won today, we would have gotten all three. We’re going to keep those goals and are looking to check off all three boxes next year.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS