The first time the McDowell Lady Titans played the Watauga Pioneers this season, McDowell was admittedly overwhelmed in a 9-0 defeat that ended in the 63rd minute via the mercy rule.
The second match between the two also resulted in loss for the Lady Titans, but Thursday’s 4-0 defeat was nothing like the first game. McDowell gave up three goals in the opening 15 minutes and then battled the league-leading Pioneers tooth-and-nail for the final 75 in a much closer 4-0 defeat.
In the words of Lady Titans head coach Seth Hunt, after the Pioneers scored their early goals, McDowell settled down and began “intercepting passes, making solid runs on the Pioneer goal, and just being a staunch nuisance to limit the typically dominating Watauga offense.”
The Lady Titans (4-9 overall, 2-5 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) couldn’t find the net, but Hunt said they played hard the whole way and never quit despite being behind Watauga (9-3, 7-0) most of the way.
McDowell got a big game from junior goalkeeper Leila Bragg, who stopped 18 Watauga shots. One of the Pioneers’ three goals came on an error by the Lady Titans.
“Top honors go to senior Noelle Fields for her leadership on the field, senior Bethany Hartwell for her unwavering attitude and strength, and junior Leila Bragg for what was undoubtedly one of her best games of the season,” said Hunt.
The Lady Titans are on the road at Alexander Central Tuesday.