The McDowell Lady Titans are off to a 1-2 start to the soccer season after falling to R-S Central by a 6-2 score Thursday for the second consecutive match.
McDowell is on the road at Mitchell Monday and opens Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play Tuesday on the road at Watauga.
R-S Central 6, McDowell 2 (Thursday) – The Lady Titans battled the Hilltoppers hard despite losing starting goalkeeper Leila Bragg to an injury in the first half.
R-S Central, behind an aggressive offensive attack, opened up a 3-0 lead in the first half. Bragg, who had made four saves and allowed two goals, left the game and was replaced by sophomore Morgan Burnette, who finished with six saves.
The Hilltoppers added three more goals in the second half and stretched the lead to 6-0 before McDowell got on the board.
Sophomore Miryam Ramirez took a perfectly timed pass from Noelle Fields and found the net to cut the deficit to 6-1. Later, senior Lyric Fletcher hit the upper 90 with a spectacular place kick in the final minutes of play to account for the final.
Titans head coach Seth Hunt said he was proud of the efforts of the Lady Titans’ bench players, who performed well on defense in the second half.
“The bench played exceptionally well, filling in gaps in the lineup on all sides of the field,” said the first-year head coach. “Their stalwart defense helped keep the Hilltoppers’ starting front end from adding more goals in the final 30 minutes of play.”
Morgan Hill had three goals and two assists for R-S Central. McKenzie Hamrick added two goals and Ella Parton three assists.
R-S Central 6, McDowell 2 (Monday) – R-S Central broke open a 2-1 game with three quick, second-half goals and the Lady Titans never recovered.
Both teams struggled to score in the opening half. Central scored two goals off set pieces, while McDowell’s only score of the half came on Danae Lagos’ shot from the top of the box.
The second half was a different story. Central opened with a withering offensive assault that produced three scores in just seven minutes.
The Lady Titans answered with a goal from Jessica Givens, but couldn’t find the net again.
Bragg recorded seven saves against the Hilltoppers, who got two goals apiece from Hamrick and Darby Roller and three assists from Morgan Hill.
McDowell 6, Mitchell 0 (Feb. 27) – The Lady Titans opened the campaign with a lopsided win over Mitchell.
Lagos, a sophomore, scored three goals while Fletcher, Fields and Ramirez added a goal apiece. Ramirez also tallied an assist. Bragg stopped five shots in goal.
McDowell broke an early scoreless match when Fletcher went the length of the field for a goal that made it 1-0. Fields hammered home a goal before halftime to give the Lady Titans a 2-0 edge at the break.
The second half was all McDowell, as Lagos and Ramirez launched a barrage of attacks on Mitchell’s goal.
Meanwhile, the Lady Titans’ defense helped Bragg preserve the shutout. Hunt was complimentary of the defensive efforts of Fletcher, Channing Wellman, Madeline Sanchez, Carrie Poore and Abby Lewis in helping keep the Mountaineers scoreless.