GALION — Highland’s Emma Hinkle scored two goals and assisted on five others to lead Highland to an 8-1 victory over Galion on Wednesday.
The match was a non-league contest. The two teams will face each other in a league match on Sept. 27 at Marengo.
“(Hinkle) is our all-time leading goal scorer and I think now she’s the all-time leading goal scorer in the league. She’s a dynamic player,” Lady Scots head coach Anthony Wilson said. “She can not only score goals, but she can set other people up. And that’s what I’ve asked her to do more of this year, too. The goals are still coming but she’s getting more assists now, too. Her all-around game is just spectacular.”
Hinkle’s first goal hit the back of the net just 60 seconds into the match. She scored her second goal about 17 minutes later to give the Lady Scots a 2-0 advantage.
Highland (5-3, 2-1 Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) extended its lead to 3-0 with 20:47 remaining before halftime when Izzy Arnett-Tomasek scored off the first of Hinkle’s five assists. That’s where the score stood at the halftime break.
Despite trailing 3-0, Galion head coach Cole Plumb said he thought his ballclub played well over the final 20 minutes of the opening half.
“The last 20 minutes we were actually playing pretty good soccer,” Plumb said. “We were playing (the ball) to feet. I think we possessed the ball more than they did in the last 20 minutes of that first half. We were just missing that final ball (in the attacking portion of the field). So we’ve got to work on that. But our possession in the middle, there were some moments of brilliance, we just have to find that final ball and find a way to finish.”
It took Highland a little more than five minutes to extend its lead to 4-0 early in the second half. Guinevere Jackson scored off an assist by Hinkle at the 35:55 mark.
Highland upped its advantage to 5-0 with 29:28 to play when freshman Bryn Orr knocked in a cross from Hinkle. Less than three minutes later, the Lady Scots led 6-0 after Destiny Carpenter scored on yet another assist by Hinkle.
Amarie Morgan tallied twice in a span of 10 minutes to run the Highland to 8-0. Her first goal came at the 13:25 mark when she pounded on the rebound of a shot by Jackson. Morgan’s second goal came with 3:32 remaining in the match off Hinkle’s final assist.
The Lady Tigers spoiled Highland goalkeeper Kayley Smith’s shutout when Adriana Zeger converted a penalty kick for Galion’s lone goal with 48 seconds left to play. The referee awarded the spot kick after Galion’s Mia Felder went down in the penalty area under pressure from Morgan.
Galion (2-5-1, 0-3-1 MOAC) was shorthanded against Highland with three players sidelined, including starting central defender Emma Butterfield, Plumb said. Those absences forced him to move Zeger and Autumn Bennett, among others, into different roles for the match, he said.
“I had to put people into different positions, so they were trying new things,” Plumb said. “It was a good learning experience for us, but it stinks that it ended that way. When (Butterfield) isn’t there, it really hurts our team defensively and you could see that today.”
Wilson said the Lady Scots also started fast in a 5-2 win over Marion Harding on Monday, but couldn’t sustain the pressure. He said he was glad to see his team maintain pressure on Galion after the strong opening to the match in the first half.
“We can’t take the pressure off. We can’t get comfortable just scoring two or three goals at the start and then just relaxing,” Wilson said.
Wilson noted that Highland’s solid play in the midfield was one of the keys to its win against Galion.
“If our midfield doesn’t control the game, there’s very little chance that we’re going to get the result that we want,” Wilson said. “We’ve worked really hard, especially our two defensive (midfielders), on working together, making themselves available as pivots to distribute the ball and get the attack going. They really initiate the attack. It’s not so much the attacking (midfielders) or the wings, but it’s our defensive (midfielders) who try to initiate the attack. I thought we did a good job of that today.”
Galion and Highland each play matches against the MOAC’s co-leaders on Monday. The Lady Tigers travel to Ontario and the Lady Scots play at Shelby.
Follow @SportsMCS on Twitter.