Lady Chargers return to form, advance to semis
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
The Lady Chargers amped up their effort after halftime and cruised to a 5-0 win over a game Haywood squad.
"I told the girls at halftime, we weren't playing Westview soccer, and if we didn't wake up and play our style, we'd be done on Thursday," Lady Charger head coach Stan Vickers recalled. "We came out in the second half and played to our ability. We passed a whole lot better, we communicated more and we moved the ball."
With the victory, the Lady Chargers advance to the semifinals where they will take on Covington at 7 on Thursday night in Dyersburg. Covington defeated Obion County 4-0 on Monday. Westview won the regular-season meeting between the two teams, 6-4. Dyersburg and Crockett County will face off in the other semifinal.
Even holding a 2-0 halftime lead, the Lady Chargers didn't play up to their ability in the first 40 minutes. Westview took plenty of shots, but nearly every one sailed high or wide of the net or clanged off the posts. When the shots were on target, the Lady Tomcat keeper was on the spot to tip the ball away or haul it in. For the game the Lady Chargers fired 61 shots.
"The Haywood goalkeeper played a tremendous game. She saved a tremendous amount of shots," Vickers noted. "We missed barely wide and we hit the posts, but you can attribute a lot of our misses to their goalie."
Westview needed 16 minutes to take the lead. Evelyn Daniel controlled a high, bouncing pass near the left middle at the top of the box before letting loose a high shot that snuck under the crossbar to give the Blue and Gold a 1-0 lead.
At the 22-minute mark, the Lady Chargers' pressure in the box resulted in a hand ball and a penalty kick. Vickers called on Kayla Gutherie to take the shot. Her PK blast banged off the post, but Gutherie would not be denied in the second half.
In the 39th minute, the ball again rattled off bodies, knees and cleats in front of the Tomcat net before Maggie Blackwell fired a low shot into the net for a 2-0 Westview halftime lead.
After the goal posts and the Haywood keeper did their best to stifle the Lady Chargers for 40 minutes, WHS needed less than two minutes to get untracked after halftime. Gutherie boosted the lead to 3-0 with a low shot from the right side.
She added her second goal with a lofted shot over the keeper two minutes later to stretch the gap to 4-0.
Gutherie's third goal of the half for a 5-0 lead came in heavy traffic to close out scoring.
The win saw junior scoring threat Melissa Johnson return to the field after missing time with a knee injury. Defender Nicole Drake is still out of action.
"Melissa's back and looks 100 percent," Vickers noted.